Q & A with Angela
What first sparked your interest in science or engineering?
Women of SDO - Angela Mason
As early as elementary school I really liked math and recall winning a math contest about the metric system in the 5th grade. My early interests were in math and computer science. In high school I worked with a large company in their computer and data processing department. I wasn’t exposed to engineering until I was in college. My undergraduate school was Hampton University and was very close to NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). I was a student president of a non-profit technical organization, the National Technical Association (NTA). A lot of Engineers from the Professional Chapter of NTA worked at NASA LaRC. They willingly came to our local NTA Chapter meetings and spoke to our group about what they did. I was inspired by the work the engineers were doing, but most of all their enthusiasm.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The work we do at NASA is always cutting edge technology and I really like that. I also enjoy the depth of science and technology that you can get involved in – it is never ending.
What advice would you give to students who would like to work on a project such as SDO?
I currently work on Flight Projects at Goddard, but my first lead position was the Lead Environment Project Engineer for the Solar Dynamics Observatory. I worked on SDO during the front end of the project from 2005 to November 2006. The year and half of working on the SDO project was, indeed, very rewarding for too many reasons to list here
Continue taking math and science courses in school. Take additional courses in these areas so that you can continue to excel. When opportunities arise such as Science Fairs and math and science contests, participate. Being exposed to these types of events will excite you and help you to grow and improve in the science and technology field.
What do you do on an average day?
I am currently a Mission Manager at Goddard for future satellite science missions. I work alongside scientists and engineers from other NASA Centers planning and designing satellite missions that one day will launch successfully -- like the SDO.
What are the greatest challenges of your job?
I usually attend a few meetings each day. I could be preparing for a design study to look at options on how spacecraft design. I’m also a part of teams we call working groups. These determine what measurements we want to achieve, and what kind of instruments we need to develop. I also have to review the budget and the project schedule so I can keep track of the funding, and completing tasks on schedule. I give reports on what the teams have accomplished and on future plans. If there are any problems, I report this as well. Sometimes I get to go to the Laboratories to see the experiments and testing that is being done.
The greatest challenge of my job is maintaining excellent communications among the various teams I’m involved with on a daily basis. Being a great team player and keeping communication as a priority helps the projects go much smoother.
What is your favorite hobby/activity outside of work?
I enjoy cooking and spending quality time with family and friends. I also enjoy photography, aerobics and basketball.
› Link to Angela Mason's Biography