NASA People

Center Snapshot: Jessie Orozco
Jessie Orozco. Image above: Jessie Orozco has three distinct jobs with the Science Directorate and leads a full and varied life away from NASA Langley. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Raising a Jack Russell Terrier named Ginger may not have been as difficult as raising a Bengal Tiger cub named Kimba in an apartment. Jessie Orozco has done both.

"While she's not very exotic (Ginger), she is quite unique," said Orozco. "She is smart as a whip. She enjoys performing her numerous tricks for audiences of any size."

Raising Kimba came when Orozco lived with her mother in an apartment over a gift shop at the Acadia zoo in Trenton, Maine, for two years when she was child.

She is no stranger to nature. She grew up on a farm in the woods on the coast of Maine. "I learned from an early age how to live off the land," Orozco said.

She loves learning new languages and traveling to new places. "I began speaking my second language, Spanish, during high school. It came in very handy while working as a software trainer throughout Central America," she said. "Since then I have dabbled in a few others. I currently speak basic Mandarin Chinese, a little bit of Indonesian and I’m currently learning Czech for a trip I’ll be taking to Prague this summer."

Orozco is one of only 15 students selected to participate in the Global Leadership Program in Prague this summer. "I'll be taking two classes with a focus on international affairs and human rights at Charles University while I'm there, as well as doing some humanitarian work in the countryside," she said.

She is a full-time student at Regent University, but has taken the spring semester off.

"While I am currently involved more on the technical side of my work, I know I am meant for a more humanistic calling," she said. "I am focusing my studies on global business, foreign affairs and international policy." She is also a charter member of the pre-law society Phi Alpha Delta at Regent.

Orozco also speaks a language that the whole world knows – that of song. She won a contest to be an alternate back-up singer for country music's Shania Twain.

"The primary backup singer was healthy and able so I didn't actually get to sing, but I did get tickets to the show," Orozco said. "It was just a huge feeling of accomplishment though, knowing that I made it that far."

Orozco still sings often, "but these days it’s for an audience of one," she said.

Her taste in music is varied. "If one were to listen to my iPod on all-song shuffle, they'd be in for a true treat of diversity," Orozco said. "I really like everything, though blues is probably my favorite, with heavy rock as a close second."

Her responsibilities in NASA Langley's Science Directorate are as varied as her musical interest. "Some days I wear the requirements management hat, responsible for capturing, developing and managing requirements for any system requested within the Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC), but with primary focus on the ANGe (Archive Next Generation) system and its related interfaces," she said. "At other times I put on the hat of the Remedy (directorate Tracking Ticket system) SA, responsible for the wellbeing, management and maintenance of the Remedy system."

Orozco also facilitates the Evolution Change Management Board for all changes requested for the ANGe system. She also occasionally reviews and analyzes business tools and provides recommendations for procurement.

"It is not uncommon to wear all hats over the course of a single day," she said. " I enjoy being involved to make the functional operation of the center more optimal."

She also enjoys the people she works with. "The diversity and focus really make for an engaging environment," she said.

Orozco has a lot of hobbies and very little "down time," but she loves to build things when she is able. "Anything from a garden to furniture to business," she said.

"I am currently leading a garden project at my church, Beulah Tabernacle, by which we have taken an empty field behind the church and are transforming it into a 20-plus raised bed garden," Orozco said. "We will be producing a fabulous variety of fruits and vegetables, to include a full raspberry bed as well."

She hopes to take her knack for building to remote areas of developing nations some day by opening primary education centers there. She would also like to open children's learning centers throughout the United States.

"No matter the trial, I thank God for who He has made me today, and I’m excited to see who He will make me tomorrow," Orozco said.