NASA People

Center Snapshot: Arlene Levine
10.30.09
Arlene Levine. Image above: Arlene Levine is focused on "green" iniatiatives at Langley. She also has a "green thumb" and that is made apparent by the many plants in her office. NASA/Sean Smith

By:
Denise Lineberry

An international concern about global climate change sent Arlene Levine on a mission to pursue NASA Langley's "green" potential.

In February 2008, she stopped Langley Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell in the cafeteria to talk about a green technology effort.

Bushnell and Strategic Relationships Office (SRO) Director Rich Antcliff were responsive to Levine’s idea, and she was detailed from the Science Directorate to SRO. Five months later, her transfer was permanent.

Levine has immersed herself in the world of "green." Her efforts are focused at Langley, but she tends to look at the bigger picture: the Earth.

"I enjoy the sense of mission, collaboration and excitement of this global initiative to make our planet a safer, cleaner place," Levine said.

She formed a tri-center team between NASA’s Langley, Glenn and Ames research centers. The team develops solutions to mitigate the effects of global climate change and to increase the use of alternate energy.

Levine spends 40-plus hours a week on green initiatives. But who's counting? She isn’t.

"When you are deeply involved in a mission as far reaching as this, you don't count the hours," Levine said.

She is the lead for the "C02 Mitigation Team," a cross-center team which seeks out NASA Langley’s place in alternate energy and green technology. "We’ve identified wonderful technologies that would contribute significantly to energy efficiency, such as lubricant-free materials, thermoelectric materials, thin film membranes for gas and liquid separation and space solar power, to name some," she said.

Some of these technologies already exist, and some are still being developed. Her leadership, and the expertise surrounding her on this team, enforce the concept of "out with the old … and in with the new."

Levine sits on several center operations teams, and she is interacting with the Department of Energy (DOE) to enhance further opportunities in the "green" arena.

These opportunities carry over into her personal life. She uses energy-efficient light bulbs, drives a 4-cylinder car for better gas mileage and recycles paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and composting vegetable scraps from her garden. She had her windows replaced with energy efficient windows. She keeps her thermostat low and aims to keep her carbon footprint even lower.

She has also co-authored a book on meteorology and is the first NASA project manager for eClips, educational video segments aimed at inspiring students.

For enjoyment, she travels, reads and paints.

And she works.

"I enjoy being part of an activity I love and whose purpose I believe in," she said.

She meshes ideas from organizations across the center, from other NASA centers and from other government agencies and then syncs some of those ideas with those of state officials.

Levine has "the satisfaction of knowing that we are making a difference."

And it all began with a chat in the cafeteria.

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