Center Snapshot - Tracey Silcox
Tracey Silcox. Image above: Tracey Silcox of Science Systems & Applications Inc. works in the Science Directorate at NASA Langley. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Tracey Silcox spent her summers in college drawing pastel portraits at Busch Gardens.

After earning her undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of Dayton and a masters in fine arts from Savannah College of Art and Design in illustration, she moved on from pastel portraits to becoming the administration manager and graphic designer for DEVELOP, a NASA Science Mission Directorate Applied Sciences Program that helps teach people to extend NASA science research to local communities.

Her interest in art started at a young age. “In third grade I won a poster contest about recycling for Earth Day,” Silcox said. Her love of art was not distracted by the “two ponies” she had growing up: “A palomino on my grandparents’ farm, and a 1965 Mustang in high school.”

Her Mustang was “a bit old” to make the trip from her hometown of Poquoson to Dayton when college began. But she always drove it when she returned home for the summer.

“Going away to college was a significant influence on my sense of independence,” Silcox said. “I went to school several hundred miles away from home and was the first person from my high school to go to the University of Dayton.”

Beyond college, the DEVELOP program helped prepare her for her career.

Silcox began her own NASA career in DEVELOP in 2003.

“Working with the DEVELOP Program has had a major impact on my life,” Silcox said. “I am more confident, have improved my ‘people skills’ and I found an interest in an area of science to which I had not previously given much thought.”

“I am fascinated by earth sciences,” she said. “Realizing this has inspired me to be more aware of how I can positively impact the environment.”

As a manager and graphic designer, her responsibilities include mentoring students and assisting them with travel and graphic design for the local and national teams.

“I design templates for posters and PowerPoint presentations, create brochures and flyers, maintain and update the DEVELOP program Web site and ensure everything meets NASA’s communications standards,” Silcox said.

She enjoys her responsibilities.

“Working with the students and seeing what they accomplish is probably the most interesting thing about working with DEVELOP. I enjoy everything I do, and find the design aspect very fulfilling,” Silcox said.

And when she isn’t fulfilling her work responsibilities, she has plenty to occupy her time. “I have been working on my house. That’s been an ongoing project for the past three years,” she said.

She has redesigned her backyard and been doing general home improvements indoors. "Mostly what I did not get to before I moved in," Silcox said.

Prior to moving in, she repainted everything, replaced the floors, replaced the kitchen cabinets and appliances and replaced her bathroom vanity.

"I would never have got everything done if it wasn't for the help of my father," Silcox said. Her father, Richard Silcox is the assistant branch head for the Structural Acoustics Branch.

As any homeowner knows, there is always work to be done. And Silcox is no exception.

Beyond improving her own investment, she is investing time by giving back to her community through her membership with the Newport News Jaycees.