Feature

NASA Langley's Cover Girl
12.07.07
By: Denise Adams

She’s accomplished. She’s a role model. She’s on the cover of IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Magazine’s December premiere issue. She’s Debbie Martinez, a computer engineer at NASA Langley.

WIE, a technical publication, wanted to feature women in engineering fields to further their outreach to young girls.

And who better to provide this type of outreach than Martinez, who came to computer engineering because she had a math and science bent as a child?

Debbie Martinez.Image Right: Debbie Martinez chose to be a computer engineer after considering such fields as veterinarian, marine biologist, computer scientist, engineer, astronomer and astronaut. Credit: NASA/Sandy Gibbs.

“I’m very honored and humble. I’m happy if my story can help to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science and technology fields,” Martinez said.

“I think we all have a responsibility to serve as mentors if given the opportunity.”

Martinez met with Karen Panetta, editor-in-chief of WIE, a few years ago when she visited NASA Langley to work with a fellowship program. Panetta knew of Martinez’ outreach accomplishments and wanted her to share her story with WIE readers.

Much of that outreach is accomplished in two Web sites: Latina Women of NASA (http://oeop.larc.nasa.gov/hep/lwon/) and Women of NASA LaRC (http://oeop.larc.nasa.gov/fwp/won/).

”I'm happy that we got such a fantastic role model for our premiere issue,” Panetta said.

The December issue of WIE goes out to all 380,000 IEEE members.

Martinez serves as the project Chief Engineer and Technology Manager in the Space Operations Program Office (SOPO) in Exploration & Space Operations Directorate (ESOD).

She is also the Technical Deputy Project Manager for Orion Abort Flight Test (AFT) / Flight Test Article (FTA) Project in the Flight Projects Directorate (FPD).

Since 1996, Martinez has been the NASA LaRC Hispanic Advisory Group (HAG) chair for the Hispanic Employee Program (HEP) and the HEP site webmaster. As HAG chair, she has helped promote contact with and exposure to NASA LaRC Hispanic employees, the local Hispanic community and Hispanic organizations and professional societies. She continues to provide awareness of relevant issues and events via the HEP web sites and her monthly e-newsletter, HEP@NASA LaRC.

Martinez supports various NASA Langley Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (OEOP), such as the Federal Women's Program (FWP) and HEP. She continually supports center educational outreach efforts via projects like the CERES S'COOL Project and the NASA Langley Speakers Bureau.

She was a co-founding member of the Society of Hispanic Engineers - Southeast Virginia Professional (SHPE-SEVA) Chapter established in December 2004. In 2004, she was nominated for NASA Langley's 2004 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. In addition, she has obtained numerous international awards and recognitions for her Hispanic outreach efforts, such as Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine's "2003 Power Hitter in Business & Technology".

It is not difficult to see why Martinez was chosen as the cover for IEEE’s WIE Magazine.

To learn more about IEEE Women in Engineering, please visit: http://www.ieee.org/portal/pages/committee/women/index.html.

NASA Langley Research Center
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor and Responsible NASA Official: H. Keith Henry
Editor and Curator: Denise Adams