Marta R. Metelko
November 26, 2003
NASA Employee Maintains Heritage While Following Her Dreams
Twenty-two years ago Tianna S. Shaw learned about engineering processes and problem solving when she attended a workshop entitled "How to Build a Better Mouse Trap." Today, Shaw uses every bit of acquired knowledge to manage the Facilities Utilization Office of the Life Sciences Division, Payloads and Facilities Engineering Branch, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Shaw, a Native American, graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in biomedical and electrical engineering. She then attended California State University, Sacramento, where she received a master's degree in biomedical engineering. During her graduate studies in 1991, Shaw joined Ames as a student intern.
"Although I decided to go into biomedical and electrical engineering, I love the concept of applying my education and theories to produce practical solutions in the life sciences research arena, and NASA is a perfect place to do it," said Shaw.
Currently, Shaw provides management oversight and leadership for a multidisciplinary team of NASA scientists and technicians. The team conducts science experiments in the Center for Gravitational Biology Research facilities, which is dedicated to improving understanding of the effect of gravity on living systems.
Despite an extremely busy schedule balancing work and taking care of four children, Shaw still makes time to maintain cultural ties to Native American traditions.
"You can pursue a technical career and still continue to be involved with your community," said Shaw. "In general, I see a lot of Native Americans in the fields of science and engineering. You just have to look at the right places, like the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, for example."
Shaw is a great role model for young people. She is maintaining her Native American roots and following her dreams. Her advice to young people is: "You may find you really can pursue dreams that challenge you intellectually and still find many ways to participate in community activities."
For information about NASA and its rich history, visit:
Media organizations interested in interviewing Shaw should contact Victoria Steiner, NASA Ames Research Center Media Relations Department, at: 650/604-0176 or 650/604-9000, via e-mail at: Victoria.L.Steiner@nasa.gov
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