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Center Snapshot: Mary Thomas-Spruill
Mary Thomas-Spruill. Image above: Mary Thomas-Spruill stands in front of Langley's Unitary Tunnel. She works as a financial analyst within the Configuration Aerodynamics Branch. Credit: NASA/Denise Lineberry

By: Denise Lineberry

In sociology, manners are unenforced standards of conduct that demonstrate that a person is proper, polite and refined. It's the least Mary Thomas-Spruill could expect from a potential husband.

"Excuse me, ma'am," said a young man named Jason Spruill. His introduction was endearing, polite. A conversation followed and it earned him a first date with Mary Thomas.

They went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was pouring down rain and he left his lights on in the car. The two became temporarily stranded. It was an imperfectly perfect first date.

The high school sweethearts became husband and wife. They have two children, Nathaniel, 7, and Jadyn, 1.

"My children are such blessings and so innocent and fun," said Thomas-Spruill. "They bring so much joy to our lives."

Playing "mom" comes naturally to her, as the oldest of five children. She has two brothers and two sisters. She is looking forward to becoming an aunt soon, as one of her sisters is expecting her first child.

Even in her work as a financial analyst at NASA's Langley Research Center in the Configuration Aerodynamics Branch, her co-workers comment on her caring ways. She cares for them, because she considers them family.

While earning her bachelor's in Psychology at Virginia Wesleyan, Thomas-Spruill completed an internship at a group home for high-risk children. She spent time with the children and worked their cases. The process proved too emotional, and she decided to take her career in a new direction.

She earned her master's with a concentration in accounting at Saint Leo University. Working with numbers came easily to her. She is studying for her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and plans to sit for examination in February.

For six years, she has volunteered through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She enjoys being a mentor to younger children, including her own.

"My mom and dad always stressed the importance of support: supporting one another, supporting others. I think that's why I am the way I am," Thomas-Spruill said.

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