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Johnson Celebrates AA and NHPI Heritage Month: Britney Tang

When you think about personal property, your home, clothes, and electronic devices probably come to mind. For NASA, personal property comprises government-owned government-held assets ranging from laptops to spacecraft and space station components. Managing the financial records for these assets is the responsibility of the Property Accounting Team, which includes Personal Property Accountant Britney Tang.

Tang sits within the Accounting Services Office of Johnson Space Center’s Office of the Chief Financial Services Officer (OCFO). She works with her colleagues to determine which NASA-held assets must be tracked over time versus expensed, and to ensure those assets are reported appropriately on Johnson’s financial statements.

Professional portrait of a young Asian American woman wearing glasses, a black blazer, and a white silk shirt.
Official portrait of Britney Tang.
NASA/Josh Valcarcel

While she has only held her civil servant position for a few months, Tang is no stranger to Johnson or the OCFO. She completed five rotations with NASA’s Pathways Program between 2021 and 2023, including two stints as a property accounting intern for her current office. “I jumped around a bit as an intern because I really wanted to have a full understanding of NASA’s whole business,” she said. “It made things click to see the entire process of how funds are being used and recorded throughout the agency.” Tang particularly enjoyed her rotations with the Property Accounting Team and feels lucky to rejoin them as a full-time employee.

As an accounting major at the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business, Tang planned to work for a public accounting firm or a private company when she graduated, until she stumbled upon a Pathways internship opportunity. “It was in a newsletter that my school put out, which I rarely opened, but one day I did, and I saw the call for applications,” she said. “I thought I might as well throw my hat into the ring and see where it got me.”

A young Asian American woman tries on a spacesuit glove while holding a tether used by astronauts during spacewalks.
Britney Tang tries on a spacesuit glove and attempts basic astronaut tasks, like latching and unlatching tethers, during Johnson Space Center’s Intern, Innovation, and Industry Day on July 13, 2023.
Image courtesy of Britney Tang

Tang believes her experience highlights an important opportunity for NASA to attract more diverse talent by reaching out to students enrolled in a wider variety of schools and academic fields. “When you think of NASA, you think of engineers and rockets. I think that’s why a lot of people in business specifically do not consider NASA as a career option, because they forget that we do need mission support operations to keep things running,” she said. “I’m really passionate about telling people about the opportunities at NASA, especially on the business side.”

That passion prompted Tang to work with ASIA ERG to host a virtual event with the University of Houston’s Asian Business Student Association last year. At the time, she was participating in the group’s education and outreach and social cohorts as a Pathways intern. Tang developed a presentation for the event that provided overviews of Johnson’s business organizations, describing each organization’s work and related career opportunities for students. She also recruited several employees from those organizations to participate in the presentation and a brief panel discussion that followed.

A young Asian American woman stands at the controls during a simulation inside a mockup of the International Space Station's cupola.
Britney Tang participates in a payload-capture simulation from a mockup of the International Space Station’s cupola during an intern tour of Johnson’s systems engineering simulators in March 2023.
Image courtesy of Britney Tang

Tang said that she has never felt like a minority on the teams she has been a part of, noting that her current team is almost entirely female and includes several people of color, but she knows this may not be every Johnson employee’s experience. During one intern orientation session, Tang observed that she was one of five or six women in a room of 30 people. “I did not like that feeling and I expressed that to the Pathways coordinators,” she said. “I think if people don’t see someone similar to them, or someone they can relate to, it’s harder for them to feel like they can apply.”

A self-described foodie, Tang said that showing openness and acceptance of teammates’ ethnic foods is one way that every Johnson employee can promote cultural understanding and inclusivity. Asian American families often share stories about bringing Asian food to school for lunch as kids and getting teased by other students because it smelled different, she said, adding that she hopes the growing popularity of ethnic cuisines will help put an end to those experiences. Telling her fellow Pathways interns that she enjoys trying different foods around Houston helped her build connections with them, and many approached her with questions about where they should go and what they should try. “The easiest way to start a conversation is to talk about food, and food is very integral to a culture,” she said.