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Synthia Tonn – NESC Academy Biography

Synthia Tonn
Synthia Tonn

Ms. Synthia Tonn began her NASA career as a coop student at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in the Mechanical Engineering Branch/543 in 2005.  She served as a structures and deployables engineer, and mechanical systems engineer for projects including the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS), Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), and James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).  In this role, she designed, built, and qualified multiple flight subsystems.

Synthia then transitioned to the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis (MESA/590), first as an instrument systems engineer (ISE) and then as a mission systems engineer (MSE).  Synthia has been the lead ISE for Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS2) on Landsat-9 since 2017, and was one of the Deputy MSEs for the Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) during the study phase.  In these roles, she provided technical leadership through the mission life cycle.  Since July 2021, Synthia has been serving as GSFC’s Instrument Systems and Technologies (ISTD/550) division chief engineer, where she provides leadership, specialized engineering expertise and guidance on instrument technology and flight implementation activities.

Synthia is the recipient of multiple awards, including a 2018 NASA Honor Award Exceptional Achievement Medal and a 2020 GSFC Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division (MESA) Excellence Award for Systems Engineering.  She holds an S.B. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M. Eng. in Systems Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.