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Center Snapshot: Melissa Latta
Melissa Latta. Image above: Melissa Latta works as an order clerk for ROME at NASA's Langley Research Center. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Melissa Latta works and lives under the notion that it takes up too much energy to carry hard feelings. Instead, she chooses to let irritations roll off her shoulders. She can see the glass as half full in any situation.

Starting her new position as an order clerk for ROME at NASA's Langley Research Center about a year ago helped her positive mindset to come more naturally.

"I'm very fortunate and confident with the work I do here," Latta said. "I feel rewarded for the work I do, and I love the people I work with. I enjoy coming to work."

Latta has a sense of career as opposed to the way she approached her previous jobs. She started working at 16 as a cashier. While attending Warwick High School in Newport News, she also went to a vocational school and studied to be a dental assistant. Before coming to Langley, she worked as a legal assistant.

"I can really see a future here," Latta said of her now job.

She started working the front desk for ROME at an off-site location, but has since been relocated to Langley and has been given more responsibility. She assists with badge and pass requests for contractors and does procurement tasks, processing and invoicing. She has also assisted in the ROME warehouse, receiving materials and entering inventory when needed.

Latta is able to mix family and work by serving on ROME’s Team Fun board. Recently, a group of employees took their children to a Norfolk Admirals hockey game and went bowling at Langley Air Force Base.

According to Latta, the group allows parents to do things they might not be able to afford otherwise. The outings are offered at a discounted rate.

Having her first child at 19, Latta is no stranger to making ends meet as a young, single mom. But fun was always incorporated.

Her son, Tommy, who is 13, plays football and baseball. And her daughter, Paige, 6, takes gymnastics. Between athletics and church, they stay busy.

"No matter the circumstance, we can always have fun and I can teach them right from wrong," Latta said.

She's well-equipped to handle any sibling rivalries in her home, because of her experience as a peer mediator and counselor in high school. But none of that taught her to make her fiancé, Brian, like the Red Sox, instead of the Yankees. So a rivalry persists.

Latta takes a big-picture outlook on life.

"Each day, I am blessed," she said in reference to her family and her work.

She struggles daily with pain and fatique from anemia and fibromyalgia, but she focuses on the positives: her family, her work and her faith.

"Even though it's tough, you push on and you do the best you can," Latta said.

It's what she's always done ... even on days when the glass is less full than usual.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman