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Amanda Cutright
Amanda Cutright

Amanda Cutright, HIAD Systems Engineer
Credit: NASA

Where are you from?

Hampton Roads Virginia

What motivated you to work for NASA?

I was offered a volunteer opportunity that I really enjoyed, I was then accepted into the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars (LARSS) Program here at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), and from there my mentor helped pave the way for me to continue my career here. I am honored to work with wonderful people at such an amazing Agency!

Who inspired you?

The biggest inspirations in my life have certainly been my parents and older brother Jeremy, although, I truly enjoy finding inspiration in different forms from the variety of people I am able to meet or work with every day!

What is your role on HIAD, and what are your responsibilities?

I am currently serving as a systems engineer supporting some of the HIAD Project activities. Although my bachelors degree is in mechanical engineering, the systems engineering role allows me to work with colleagues that span many different engineering disciplines. I enjoy helping ensure the subsystems effectively coordinate and interface with each other in order to form the final system product, which must ultimately meet the projects needs, goals, objectives, and requirements. A good systems lifecycle process is essential for a successful project, especially on NASA flight projects where the systems are complex.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

There have been so many wonderful moments throughout my career!

When I worked with the DEVELOP National Program, we were able to present our project results to many customers on many occasions. It was always rewarding knowing that NASA can truly help communities by applying science to areas of local and national priority. (

The Orion Pad Abort 1 (PA-1) flight test launch of the Launch Abort System (LAS) is certainly at the top of my list of favorite moments! It is one thing to watch a rocket launch and a whole different experience to watch it while you are surrounded by friends and family that worked together for many years, know the ins and outs of the systems on the launch vehicle, and finally get to the moment where there is a successful launch! (

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

Gain hands on experience as soon as possible, in order to put your course work into a meaningful perspective, and talk with many others about what their careers entail, so you can expand your insight into what different career possibilities look like. Both of these suggestions can allow you to gain a better understanding of what a particular career path means, as well as give you first-hand experience to see if the career path is what you enjoy.

What do you do for fun?

I have many interests that I enjoy sharing with family and friends, including: dancing, photography, swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing, SCUBA diving, sailing, relaxing at the beach, skiing, golfing, volleyball, biking, gardening, home renovations, crafts, watching college football, and simply spending time with family and friends.

If you were talking to a student interested in science and math or engineering, what advice would you give them?

Science and math are all around you; be curious about how everything around you works and why. Keep taking you curiosity and inquiry one step further to learn about the amazing universe we live in. Dream about how you can apply your knowledge to help reveal new discoveries!