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Benjamin Slade - Soaring High at Goddard
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From Ultimate Frisbee to the OHCM, Ben is soaring above to gain the ultimate COOP experience

Name: Benjamin Slade
Age: 26
Home State: South Carolina
Position: Student Trainee IO Psychologist in Organizational Capability Office (112)
School: Clemson University Ph.D., I/O Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Months/Years at Goddard: Workforce Analytics Summer Intern 2010 then converted to Organizational Capability Office COOP December 2010

What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? What is the most exciting part about your job?

I play the role of internal researcher in the Organizational Capability Office. I come up with studies and analyses of human capital programs and make recommendations about the way we do our work.

The most exciting part of my job is when I have the opportunity to explain my research to an audience that is not familiar with Industrial Organizational Psychology. I feed off the opportunity to influence and guide important decisions, and back recommendations up with supporting research.

Why did you choose your profession?

I’ve always been interested in human behavior and, more specifically, how and why people make decisions.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done at Goddard?

Photo of Benjamin Slade
Photo of Benjamin Slade. Credit: Jesse von Fange
I had the chance to share the results of my attrition simulation model at the Integrated Business Process (IBP) meeting. This meeting included senior members from each Directorate. I was able to share some of the largest projects and finding with upper management.

What was your best day at Goddard?

My experiences at Goddard are definitely changing and growing. However, any day where I get to hear about people describing or explaining their passion is a great day. It’s those same people who we get a chance to hire through my job in OHCM.

What is the one thing you would tell somebody just starting their career at Goddard?

Reach out to people outside of your office because it’s great to get a big picture. Goddard is much bigger than your individual department. It’s energizing and refreshing to find out what others are doing.

Benjamin Slade playing Ultimate Frisbee› Larger image
Ben Slade catches a score for Clemson University against the University of Georgia in a recent ultimate game. Credit: Jesse von Fange

Do you have a mentor or are you a mentor? If so, please tell us the most important advice you gave or learned?

Laura Cochran in human capital is my mentor. When Laura initially hired me as a summer intern, she connected me with the right people and opportunities to gain a full-time position. What makes Laura different from the types of mentors I’ve had is that she’s done a great job at helping me meet people that are asking similar questions. Without her, I would have struggled to find an appropriate context for my work, and had a much harder time making connections with colleagues at other NASA centers.

If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing?

I probably would be living in a university town as a professor teaching psychology, statistics or business courses and coaching ultimate in my spare time. I’d also like to try my hand as a landlord, renting out 3 or 4 homes to students.

Is there something surprising about your background that people do not generally know?

I’m a huge fan of ultimate Frisbee® and have been involved in the sport as a player, coach, and organizer for almost 10 years. After my college playing career ended, I had the opportunity to oversee the recruitment, selection, and training of over 75 players on Clemson’s men’s ultimate teams. I loved serving as a mentor
and a coach to help the players reach their potential as ultimate players, student-athletes, and men. Now that I have left Clemson, I am very involved with USA Ultimate, the non-profit national governing body for Ultimate Frisbee. I’m currently a board member and am involved in the strategy and governance of the organization, serving on the finance, international, conduct, and competition committees.

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