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Karen Catucci - Smooths the Way With Multitasking Ease
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Retired telecommunications manager Karen Catucci found the perfect job working for NASA and helping others with everything from travel orders to office supplies.

Name: Karen Catucci
Title: Administrative Assistant
Formal Job Classification: Project Support Specialist
Organization She Works For: Code 670, Heliophysics Science Division

What is a typical day like for you?

Karen smiled and said that there is no typical day; it depends on who comes into the front office. In the one-and-one-half years that she’s been in this position, she’s learned that multitasking is key to keeping things running smoothly. Karen’s daily tasks range from ordering toner for all the printers in the building, to scheduling the division’s scientists for national and international conferences and preparing their travel orders, to processing requests for NASA security badges.

“I love interacting with all of our employees who come here from all corners of the world. To me, no task is too small. I’m here to help any way I can.”

How important is teamwork and collaboration in your job?

Karen Catucci with Miho Hasegawa in the NASA Postdoctoral Program from Japan› Larger image
Karen Catucci with Miho Hasegawa in the NASA Postdoctoral Program from Japan. Credit: NASA/W. Hrybyk
According to Karen, teamwork is imperative. Karen and others on the administrative team are the main points of contact for just about anything the division needs.

“We all get along really well and back each other up, which helps the office run smoothly.”

What makes Goddard a great place to work?

“It sounds corny, but it’s the people here that make Goddard great. Everyone I’ve met is very passionate about their work. They all love what they do and don’t considerate it work.” Karen says she also enjoys talking with all the post doctorate students from other countries.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you here at Goddard?

"I remember a post doctorate student from Japan who got stuck at U.S. Customs due to a glitch in some paperwork that delayed his arrival by one day. Yet after all those hours of traveling and lack of sleep he arrived with a smile on his face and a gift for me. That really blew me away.”

Karen and her four legged companion Layna, the family's Golden Retriever who passed away in July 2011.› Larger image
Karen and her four legged companion Layna, the family's Golden Retriever who passed away in July 2011. Credit: Leona Collins

Is there something surprising about you that not many people know?

“Most people don’t know that I had a career before this job. I worked in management at Verizon for 30 years. It was very stressful. I didn’t realize just how stressful it was until I retired.”

Karen also practices yoga and Pilates. She started yoga the day after she retired and has enjoyed doing both ever since.

If you could meet someone, living or dead, what would you ask them?

“I always wanted to meet my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. They were a devoted couple who together raised 11 children. They passed away before I even met my husband. Just to talk with them and hear all their life lessons. They must have been very special people.”

Is there someplace special that you’d like to visit someday?

“I really want to go to Italy. My mother and my husband’s family are from Italy. Our dream is to visit their hometowns. Hopefully, once my daughter graduates from college, we’ll be able to go.”

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