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Meet System-Wide Safety’s Hannah Walsh

Hannah Walsh, Computer Engineer

Hannah Walsh wearing sunglasses standing next to her husband.

Name: Hannah Walsh

Title: Computer Engineer

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

Current City: Tracy, CA

When did you begin working at NASA?

I started working at NASA as an intern in 2015 when I was an undergraduate student. I was a contractor intern for three summers before being selected for Pathways, then converting to a full civil servant in 2021 after completing my graduate program.


2016: Bachelor’s with a double major in Aerospace Science & Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis

2018: Master’s in mechanical engineering with emphasis in Design from Oregon State University

2020: PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University

Personal Life:

I have a wonderful husband, Ben, who is a Systems Engineer, and a very demanding cat, Heidi, who is the queen of the house.


My passion is horseback riding! I have been riding for over twenty years and was a nationally ranked dressage rider at the Prix St. Georges level in high school. I ride more for pleasure than competition now.

I also enjoy sewing, especially the process of learning how to put together a new type of garment and make it my own.

I have been vegetarian for twelve years and enjoy experimenting with new techniques and ingredients and cooking healthy meals for my family.

Hannah on horseback in a field of yellow flowers.
Hannah riding her dressage horse through a field of wildflowers outside of Houston, TX.

Describe your job to a child.

I use math and computers to do research that makes airplanes safer.

What attracted you to NASA’s System-Wide Safety (SWS) Project?

SWS, to me, is special because of the people working on it. As a newer employee, I have been able to find help and guidance from more experienced team members when it is needed but have also had opportunities to learn new skills and show off my work. I think the team culture and leadership makes this possible. I also appreciate that SWS (and NASA in general) has a mission that will make the world a better place.

Tell us more about your career path.

Growing up, I would never have guessed I would end up getting my PhD, which is the accomplishment I am most proud of. I have been doing basically the same job since my first internship, which set me on the path to getting my doctorate and becoming a researcher in RSE. Getting an internship at NASA before graduating with my BS helped me decide which graduate program to go into and set me on a specific career path. Guillaume Brat especially deserves the credit for directing me towards my eventual PhD program. I have also benefitted from excellent guidance and mentorship (and inspiration!) from Misty Davies and Dawn Mcintosh.

Any advice you would share with students?

My advice to students is to make connections! It takes time, but becoming known to others is a great way to learn from their experiences as well as find new opportunities for collaboration and new projects. Sometimes it just takes sitting next to the right person at a group picnic lunch. I believe that being your authentic self and putting that out into the world is the best thing you can do for yourself.



Last Updated
Oct 20, 2023
Lillian Gipson

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