[image-51]Name: Janie Nall
Title: Education Specialist
Organization: Code 160, Office of Education, Office of the Director
Education specialist Janie Nall is passionate about opening doors for minority and underrepresented students.
What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? How do you help support Goddard’s mission?
I am an education specialist and the lead for minority and underrepresented education. Through both formal and informal education, I inform students and educators about NASA’s science and engineering opportunities. I also introduce our professionals to these educators and students to increase opportunities for students who are underrepresented in science technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. We encourage these students to consider working at Goddard and to continue to pursue NASA relevant STEM degree programs.
How important is teamwork or collaboration with others in your job?
Collaboration is vital. We collaborate extensively with education and public outreach teams and educational liaisons from Goddard science and engineering missions. We also collaborate with the Office of Communications and other directorates on center, especially regarding the summer intern program.
How are you involved with the summer intern program?
I manage programs and recruitment to ensure that students and faculty are aware of opportunities for students at Goddard. I meet with students and their mentors throughout the summer to get to know them and make sure that all is going well.
Why did you choose your profession?
I have been a total NASA geek since the sixth grade when I formed an astronomy club and built a telescope for a science fair project. With my degree in elementary education, however, I honestly never thought that I could work for NASA. My 22 years on center have been a dream come true for me.
Why do you enjoy your job?
My job is to open doors and create opportunities for students to achieve their dreams. When I hear from students about how his or her internship at Goddard was life-changing, it reinforces the meaning of our work and shows that our education program is making an important difference.
What one thing would you tell somebody just starting their career at Goddard?
Take advantage of everything that Goddard and NASA have to offer. Walk around, see the bigger picture and meet people. Learn how the different parts of Goddard are interconnected to accomplish our mission.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?
Meeting all the amazing students over the years has been very cool: the middle school girl who was doing research projects far beyond her years, the middle school boy who taught himself differential equations, the 17-year-old who had finished his first year at the California Institute of Technology and the student from inner city Baltimore who is now an employee with us. There are many students with stories like this, and they just needed a foot in the door.
It was also amazing to have been a founding co-vice chair of Goddard’s Native American Advisory Committee. The chair and other co-chair were very creative and inspiring.
If somebody asked you, ‘What is Goddard,’ what would you tell them?
Goddard means opportunity. We open doors to the world for our students and give them a chance to prove themselves and become part of something great.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests or activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years. My husband and I enjoy international travel, which allows me to experience different cultures and vegetarian cuisine.
What one word or phrase best describes you?