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Sophia LeCour Honored as Outstanding Asian-Pacific American Employee for 2012
10.12.12
 
Sophia LeCour (center)

Sophia LeCour (center) speaks with the Honorable Hau-Min RAI, president of Judicial Yuan (left foreground), and astronaut Kjell Lindgren (right foreground) during the visit of a Taiwanese delegation to Johnson Space Center.

Johnson Space Center is proud to call Sophia LeCour one of its own—not only for her laundry list of professional accomplishments—but also for her work with JSC’s Asians Succeeding in Innovation and Aerospace (ASIA) Employee Resource Group (ERG).

Recently, LeCour was honored by the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter as an Outstanding Asian-Pacific American Employee for 2012. LeCour’s almost 28-year history with JSC has been just as illustrious. With the Space Shuttle Program, she was a Xerox 9700 system manager, software engineer, industrial engineer, reliability engineer and Flight Training Load manager. In 1997, LeCour transitioned to the International Space Station Program Office, where she held various positions such as senior systems engineer, increment manifest lead, NASA manifest and crew provisioning lead, executive intern for the Office of the Center Director, detail to NASA Headquarters, Communications and Special Projects specialist, technical lead on the Source Evaluation Board and rotation to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Now, in her current position as a payload software engineer, get to know LeCour as she describes what makes her tick professionally.

How did you feel upon receiving the honor of Outstanding Asian-Pacific American Employee for 2012 Award from the OCA-Greater Houston chapter?

I feel humbled and honored to receive this recognition. I have been actively involved in Asian-Pacific American activities since 1988, both at JSC and in the greater-Houston area. This is the first time I have received this level of recognition. I know there are a lot of people who give selflessly for the betterment of others but never receive the recognition. I want to thank Dr. Kam Lulla, who submitted my name for this award, and the OCA 2012 Awards co-chairs for selecting me for this recognition.

You were instrumental in the formation of the ASIA ERG. Describe your role in that formation process and what it’s been like to see this group grow, expand and give back to JSC.

I am the chair for the ASIA ERG. As the chair, I am the main point of contact for everyone at the center and externally, which includes Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Innovation & Inclusion Office, other ERGs at JSC and external Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations. I worked with a small team to build the business case proposal for the ERG and presented and obtained the I&I Council’s approval last September. I lead the team on various activities to enhance JSC recruitment, retention, outreach, onboard, engagement and development of Asian-Pacific Americans, thus contributing to the maximum inclusion and innovation of the JSC workforce and enhancing success of the NASA mission and vision.

The ASIA ERG promotes cross-cultural awareness and inclusion by enhancing the personal and professional development of Asian-Pacific Americans through various lunch-and-learns and external diversity summits and workshops in the Houston area. The group also provides members to serve as a resource to the center to facilitate international partnerships by providing Asian translators to support visitors from foreign countries. I personally was one of the translators during the recent Taiwanese VIP visit in September. The ASIA ERG organized the celebration and promoted Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, as well.

What words of advice do you have for anyone wanting to succeed in their given career, be it aerospace or otherwise?
  • Dedication and discipline in your work.
  • Have a strong personal integrity.
  • Do the best you can in everything you do.
  • Be dependable.
  • Take charge when put in charge.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment on a personal basis is when my son volunteered to serve in the U.S. Air Force. I gained a greater appreciation for the scarifies our servicemen/women and their families make for this country. As an immigrant, I am very thankful that I can live in the greatest country in the world, which offers boundless opportunities to all.

My proudest accomplishment on a professional basis is leading the team to handle the food/crew provision/manifest requirements after the Columbia accident. We were faced with daunting challenges to ensure we worked in partnership with our Russian counterpart to manage our resources during the time that the shuttle was grounded. I received the Director’s Commendation in April 2006 for refocusing the manifest and crew provisioning processes to efficiently and effectively support manifesting U.S. cargo on Russian vehicles.

What is your favorite memory at JSC or NASA?

My favorite memory at JSC is supporting and watching the various shuttle launches. I never got tired of watching the shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center.
 
 
Catherine Ragin Williams