Center Snapshot - Emily Outen and April Sturgill.
Emily Outen and April Sturgill.
Image above: Emily Outen, a public affairs specialist, welcomes her younger sister, April Sturgill, to NASA Langley for her summer internship with LARSS. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith.

By: Denise Adams

April Sturgill and Emily Outen have quite a few things in common.

They have the same mother and father. They have the same older sister. They attended Virginia Tech (VT) and love the Hokies. And they work at NASA Langley Research Center. They even look a little bit alike. That makes sense, because they are sisters.

At work, their minds are polar opposites.

Outen likes to work with words. Sturgill likes to work with numbers.

As a first-year LARSS student, Sturgill is working in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), in Systems Management, on the Quality Assurance and Controls team.

“I will be doing some testing of internal controls, helping with a process improvement survey (OCFO customer satisfaction survey) and doing some process improvement follow-up,” Sturgill said.

Sturgill is an accounting major at Virginia Tech with one year remaining before getting her bachelor’s degree. She has applied to the graduate program at Tech and plans to finish her master’s and receive her CPA.

Her mentor this summer is Cecelia Fletcher. “She is very helpful and friendly. I’m sure that I will learn a lot from her,” Sturgill said.

Only 2 weeks into her internship, Sturgill has plenty of knowledge to gain throughout the rest of her summer.

Sturgill and Outen left Richmond to work at NASA Langley. “I’m very proud of my sister for coming here and taking advantage of this opportunity,” Outen said.

Outen was a Sturgill until her marriage on January 5 to Michael Outen, also a Virginia Tech graduate.

While Outen was at Tech she got a taste of her sister's expertise, taking basic calculus and accounting. “I actually enjoyed that accounting class,” Outen said. "But I typically like to write.” That’s why she was an English major.

Outen started her career at NASA Langley as a LARSS student working in the News Media Office. She is now working full-time as a public affairs specialist for Tessada and Associates, Inc.

“I was very excited to be given the opportunity to work in the News Media Office. It was a great surprise and I love my job,” she said.

“In a way, I get to be a part of all the interesting work that goes on at NASA Langley. I work with the Orion group and witness testing, and then I get to write about it and promote it to news media. It’s very exciting.

“I also get to work with the Education office here and see how they work to inspire students across the country about NASA.”

Outen’s mentor as a LARSS student was Marny Skora. “She was a great mentor," Outen said. "She gave me a lot of useful advice. She always kept me busy, but that was a good thing because I learned a lot.”

An older sister, Pam Sturgill, was a graduate of Virginia Tech and she is getting married this year. Their father, also a Tech graduate, will have given away two of his daughters in marriage within a year.

The only member of the family who didn’t attend Virginia Tech was their mom, Leslie. “But she is a Hokie at heart,” Outen said.

The family enjoys going to the Tech football games. Sturgill attends all of the home games, and Outen attends as many as possible with her mom, dad, husband and older sister.

Outen and Sturgill are only two years apart in age. “We’ve always been very close,” said Sturgill. “We’re really good friends.”

“We also get to swap clothes,” said Outen. “My sister has really great taste.”

Sturgill quickly responded, “You do, too.”

Yet another thing they have in common, a sense of fashion.

Outen boasted about her younger sister receiving all “A’s” throughout her freshman year in college. “I’m so proud of her,” said Outen.

And once again, Sturgill quickly responded, “I’m really proud of her, too.” She followed that up by mentioning that Outen graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Tech.

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