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Awarding Contracts by Day, American Idol Enthusiast by Night
June 08, 2011
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Contract Specialist and Diversity Dialogue Facilitator Jennifer O’Connell dreams of taking her family to explore their roots in Sicily, Italy.

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?

A typical day for me begins with checking my emails, phone mails, and calendar to see what my day holds. In awarding and administering contracts, every day offers something different. I’m always putting out fires!

I share a two-person office. Since I’m currently leading a Source Evaluation Board, I also temporarily have a separate office in a secure building without windows.

My "cool NASA tool" consists of a laptop.

Teamwork is very, very important to be able to complete my job and support my customers. It is essential. Contract Specialists are not one man shows.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?

When I was in public affairs, I got to support and later see the HST Servicing Mission launch at 4:00 AM. It was amazing! It was pitch dark outside, but the launch lit up the whole sky so much you could barely even see.
Photo of Jennifer O'ConnellPhoto of Jennifer O'Connell Credit: NASA/Rebecca Roth

What makes Goddard a great place to work?

The location is very convenient and the people are just wonderful.

If somebody asked you, “What is Goddard,” what would you tell them?

I have to say that I think that Goddard helps the world in very important ways. We helped with rescuing the Chilean coal miners and our storm tracking also saves lives. I am proud to say I work at Goddard because we not only study the planets and space, we help people.

Do you have a favorite book, magazine, movie, or TV show?

The O'Connell Family watching
The O'Connell Family catches the latest episode of "American Idol." From left to right: the family dog, Jenna O'Connell (10) Jennifer O'Connell, Jordan O'Connell (7) and Donald O'Connell.
› View larger image Credit: Donald O'Connell.
I really like watching “American Idol” with my husband and my children who are ten and seven. We cheer for a lot of the same people!

Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit, or someplace you have been and want to go back?

I’ve never been to Italy, but my grandmother’s family is from Sicily and I’d like to go with my family. My sisters and I sent our mother, but did not get the chance to go with her before she passed away. So I’d like to go soon with my sisters’ families as well as mine.

Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say?

I am also a Diversity Dialogue Facilitator which means that I help people talk about diverse topics. Goddard is working towards enhancing the culture for everyone.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.