“We were a two-person shop doing comprehensive communications for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I won a whole ton of awards there alongside an amazing mentor and boss named Sandra Arnold. That’s why I stayed so long — because we were such a great team. That experience was very foundational to my federal career.
“I found out in October 2013 that my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I called Sandra and told her what was going on, and she suggested I telework from San Antonio and take care of him. “So, I physically moved from my office in Galveston, Texas, back to my hometown of San Antonio and rented a home. My dad moved in with me, and sadly, he eventually passed away. I will forever be thankful to Sandra for allowing me that time because I was able to spend that last year of my dad’s life with him.
“She asked me, ‘What are you going to do next? What do you want to do next?’ And I told her, ‘I can’t go back and work there after the trauma of my dad’s death.’ I needed time to grieve. It’s tough. I didn’t want to jump back into this work.
“We were on the phone, and she said, ‘Well, let’s look at jobs together.’ And she said, ‘Hey, check this one out. There’s a job at NASA.’
“The stars aligned – I was working at Johnson Space Center in Houston about six months later. That’s how I got here, in a roundabout way.”
— Isidro Reyna, Strategic Communications Manager, Strategic Integration and Management Division, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Image Credit: NASA / James Blair
Interviewer: NASA / Thalia Patrinos