RELEASE NO. 02-018
ODU WOMENGINEERS DAY MARCH 9
NASA Paradocs to participate in ODU event
They do almost everything together: live together, work at the
same place, pursue the exact same degrees
simultaneously at the same schools. Even their
license plate celebrates their similarities
But Celeste and Christine Belcastro are unique. They are
identical twin, female engineers who work at NASAs Langley
Research Center in Hampton.
Although both have doctorates in electrical engineering and do
research to make planes safer, the Hampton natives have their
specialties. Celeste concentrates on flight electronics technology,
while Christine focuses on flight dynamics, guidance and
They have always had an interest in aerospace, but didnt
believe they would be where they are today. "When we were 13 in
1969 and watching the moon landing on TV, we were totally in awe,"
said Christine. We even got our dads camera and took
pictures off the television screen, but it never occurred to us
we never imagined
that we would grow up and
work for NASA.
The Belcastros hope to convince other young women that they can
also go into engineering and some day make a difference in what is
still a male dominated field. Thats one of the reasons they
agreed to participate in Womengineers Day, March 9, at Old Dominion
Were often the only women in meetings, said
Celeste. But I feel like if youre capable youre
accepted. I think there are a lot of opportunities here at NASA if
youre willing to go after them. I havent found any
gender bias in the opportunities offered.
Christine agrees but adds, I think there still is
channeling in elementary and secondary schools
people. Girls are still programmed to identify more with make-up
and other things, than engineering and science.
The NASA engineers are also happy to return to their alma mater.
ODU is where they got their Bachelors and Masters degrees in
electrical engineering, but not where they expected to end up.
I stumbled onto the engineering thing, said
Christine. After graduating from Hampton High, Celeste and I
were going to be in a band. It took us about a half a year to
figure out that wasnt a good plan. I talked to a community
college engineering professor about possibly becoming a technician.
He looked at our high school transcripts, which had lots of
academics, including analytical geometry and trigonometry. He said
I should be looking at being an engineer.
Christine worked to interest Celeste in the idea. She was
thinking of following in their fathers footsteps and going
into a medical field. We checked into pharmacy, but we always
played electric instruments with amplifiers and were always
interested in electronics, said Celeste.
Pharmacys loss was aviations gain. The Belcastro s
came to NASA Langley the month after receiving their
Bachelors degrees in 1980, They worked on their Masters
while holding down full-time jobs, then went away to do the course
work on their doctorates with the help of a NASA education program.
Both engineers are well-known in their fields, having published a
number of papers and served on technical panels.
They still spend most of their time together. When not at work
at NASA Langley the Belcastros play golf and guitar and participate
in their church.
For more information about ODU Womengineers Day please check the
http://www.odu.edu/engr/womengineers/ or call ODU Director of
Media Relations Jennifer Mullen at (757) 683-3580.
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