Meet a NASA Glenn Employee: Scott R. Graham
Thousands of talented, dedicated and passionate people work at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. They are rocket scientists and engineers. They are researchers and physicists and chemists. They are aviation specialists, public affairs officers, administrative assistants, security officers, logistics managers and more. With countless specializations in myriad fields, the people of Glenn share one goal: working for the public in support of NASA's mission.
The diverse Glenn workforce is comprised of civil servants and on-site support contractors. Workers perform a large variety of different jobs at NASA Glenn. "My Job at NASA Glenn" is a series that introduces some of these workers. Learn about different employees and the interesting jobs they perform, and how their education prepared them to make unique and important contributions to NASA.
Scott R. Graham
Acting Associate Director, Space Flight Systems Directorate (Code M)
What that means:
The Associate Director is the number three position within the Space Flight Systems Directorate office. I've been doing this since June while Tammy Harrington is serving as planning lead for the new Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration (ETDD) program. As acting associate director, I get involved with a multitude of directorate activities, including staffing actions and plans, and serve on numerous center boards and panels. I help out the director of Space Flight as much as I can and as needed.
What I do:
I am responsible for the directorate staffing plan and project management processes and procedures. I represent the directorate on numerous personnel actions that go the center's Position Management Board for approval. I co-chair the Management Steering Group, which is a joint effort between the Space Flight Systems Directorate (Code M) and the Engineering Directorate (Code D) to better integrate and lead processes and procedures as we implement our space work at Glenn. I attend a multitude of meetings, boards, and panels. I represent the directorate whenever the director and deputy director are unavailable.
The coolest / most interesting part of my job is:
Dealing with office space requests and actions (just kidding!). Actually, my time helping out in the directorate office has given me the opportunity to have broader, higher-level responsibilities within the directorate. The experience has been very beneficial to me and hopefully I have been of value to the directorate and Code M staff. In this position, I have gained a better appreciation of all the cool things we do in support of our space activities at Glenn.
My favorite project that I have worked, or that I am working on, is:
As a child of Apollo, I have always been keenly interested in rockets and space exploration — propulsion systems and launching rockets, in particular. Most of my 29 year NASA career has been working in areas of space transportation, exploration and space flight development — from my early career working on Atlas Centaur and Shuttle Centaur, to my work on various lunar/Mars exploration technologies and studies, to space transportation technology development, to my recent work on Ares.
We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Ares I-X test flight launch. Being associated with that mission and that team was definitely a career highlight — especially being at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. for the launch. For me, there's nothing much more exciting or exhilarating than being a part of a rocket launch — whether it's Ares, the shuttle, Atlas Centaur, or even a little Estes model rocket — it's all very cool!
The accomplishment that I am most proud of is:
I am very proud to have been asked to lead Glenn's Launch Systems Project Office — the supervisory job I had before I was asked to serve as Acting Associate Director. This project office was responsible for leading all of our Ares I and Ares V work, including our part of Ares I-X. We built a great team that did great things. I am very proud of them. Now, as we transition to new programs, such as heavy lift or Space Launch Systems, we look forward to bigger and better opportunities and challenges.
A Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education helped me by:
Pursuing an engineering degree (in my case Chemical Engineering) opened the door for me to follow my dream of working for NASA someday and being involved with real rockets and the nation's space exploration programs and missions. It really is cool and exciting — I think we sometimes take for granted what we do and the privilege of working for NASA. I enjoy speaking to children and students about my NASA career and being an engineer. I am proud to tell people that I am a rocket scientist!
Good advice for students, including STEM students, is:
It may sound cliché, but my advice to students is to study hard, do well in school and follow your dreams. Be deliberate, persistent and steadfast in pursuing what you want to do. I tell students that if they are interested in becoming an astronaut or working for NASA someday, that one of the best ways to achieve this is to pursue math, science, and engineering curriculums. Strive for excellence and have fun along the way!
-Edited by Tori Woods, SGT Inc.
NASA's Glenn Research Center