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Wallops Employee Taking Part in Inauguration Parade
01.17.13
 
Amy DavisWhile many of us will be watching Monday’s Inauguration festivities on television, one NASA Wallops employee will be watching from a different perspective—as a parade participant.

Amy Davis, an electrical engineer at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, will be driving the float carrying the mock-up of NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover and Bobak Ferdowsi, aka “Mohawk Guy.”

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s an honor to be a part of the parade, but it’s also a large responsibility,” she said.

Davis, along with her job as an electrical engineer, is the program manager for the NASA Robotics Alliance Project at Wallops. Through this effort, she works to support and promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through robotics activities. One of the primary projects Davis supports is the FIRST Robotics Competition, a high school-level competition that challenges students to design and build a 120-pound robot in six weeks that will compete in a specific game.

As part of NASA’s support to the FIRST Robotics Competition, Davis transports equipment and robots of local teams to their various competitions. To fulfill this service, the Robotics Alliance Program at Wallops has a large truck (affectionately known as “Big Betty Blue”) assigned to the program.

When NASA needed a truck for the float, “Big Betty Blue” was called to duty.

“The truck is perfect parade material. How could I refuse? It’s not every day you get asked to participate in such an event and get the exclusive behind the scenes experience,” said Davis.

Davis’ name was sent to the White House for approval, and she was notified last week of her selection. She will be departing Wallops on Saturday to represent NASA in the event.

Davis has worked at NASA for 22 years and has been involved in NASA’s Robotics Alliance Program for the past 4 years.

“My grandmother will be watching for me on television, hopefully she will spot me. I think it would make her day, which would definitely make mine,” Davis says.