NASA People

Center Snapshot: Sue Miller
01.20.09
Sue Miller. Image above: Sue Miller has been working in NASA Langley's Technical Library for 32 years. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

For many, our offices become our home away from home to decorate or make room for personal collections, but Sue Miller's office in the Technical Library stands out.

She's surrounded by beavers – figurines, stuffed animals, everything but …

"I was actually offered a live beaver by someone on center, but I had to turn them down," she said.

The beavers are a reminder of her alma mater, Oregon State University. Miller was born and raised in the state and took a major leap from home when she graduated college and flew 3,000 miles to Washington, D.C., alone to take a job at the National Archives.

"I stayed with friends of the family I had never met," she said. But they helped guide her in a new location and Miller soon adjusted and realized how independent she had become.

“I got lost a few times, but I never told my mom,” she said. Miller didn’t want to cause her any worries, because everything was going well, despite a few missed turns.

Her next stop was Virginia to try a career at NASA Langley’s Technical Library. That was 32 years ago.

Miller married Darrell, a law student she met in D.C. while he was attending Georgetown. Darrell led the way to Virginia to finish up his education at William and Mary Law School. He is now an attorney in Newport News.

They both settled into their new careers, started a family and the rest was history. Much like the history found in the Technical Library, which frequently piques her imagination.

“I see the documents from the GEMINI and APOLLO eras and I wish I could have been here for that,” she said.

But the documents will have to do.

“These are my babies. I have been with them since Day One,” she said of the shelves upon shelves of filed documents. Miller is heading up the digitizing of these files. Phase one, 90,000 documents, which is half complete, and more than 63,000 historical shelf cards that were recently digitized under her lead with help from the mobile Scan Van.

But with a million documents, there is still plenty to go.

Her favorite part of her job is fulfilling the requests from the researchers who are seeking documents. Many of her requests are from Langley researchers, but she also answers requests for others outside of the center. “It’s instant satisfaction seeing that the patrons get what they need,” Miller said.

And with documents that date back to the late 1800’s, the request are far and wide.

Miller is looking forward to completing the digitization of the largest collection of documents of all the NASA centers.

With three children, Sue Miller kept busy traveling to sporting and band events and going on field trips when she could. But now, all of her children have graduated high school. She has one currently enrolled Hokie at Virginia Tech and one recent graduate.

Once her work here is done and her youngest has graduated from Virginia Tech, she plans to enjoy retirement and aid her own children as they make leaps and bounds of their own into the real world.