Skip to main content

Thanks for Stopping By This Nerdy Spot!

I'm just popping in here today to give a little shout out to all the new readers! I'm so, so happy you're here!! I thought I would give a little introduction (or re-introduction for you long time blog followers!).

This blog originally started as a personal time capsule of my "nerdy space adventures" but, over the course of nearly 10 years has morphed into a place where we can all gather to experience life, share successes and failures, inspire each other, and root for those who may lack a cheering squad. I love writing about my journey to experience an exciting aerospace career while wrangling a chronic illness - Type 1 Diabetes. I have found that these two facets of my life go hand in hand, advancement in one often spurs advancement in the other. But, above all, this path has taught me to never give up, no matter what. Being a woman in an aerospace field is not always easy, and neither is Type 1 Diabetes, but there are communities of people out there (and right here, hi!) that totally and completely have your back. Together we have sparked STEM interest in youngsters (hi youngsters!) and challenged federal rules restricting Type 1 Diabetics in various positions. And we're not done yet!

My Aerospace Engineering career began in a triplewide trailer on an Army airfield in Huntsville, AL. Glamorous, right? I was the only female Flight Test Engineer in my group which, lucky for me, meant I got an entire restroom to myself, thankyouverymuch. But before I could hop on those hot rod helicopters I had to get a medical clearance through the Federal Aviation Administration. As a Type 1 Diabetic, the process was anything but smooth. I spent three and half years in Huntsville, learning the ins and outs of Flight Test Engineering, flying on experimental army aircraft and cultivating my burgeoning female-engineer confidence. I also married my rocket scientist husband and finished a Master's degree! Eventually, we decided to move a couple states away to Houston, TX to chase a few dreams - the highest priority being a job at NASA's Mission Control.

Which leads me to now. A transition from the operations of new flight hardware to the operations of
an incredibly complex machine flying through space - the International Space Station, and a job at NASA!!!! After lots of formal training (almost 2 years worth), and yes, more medical exams and waivers, I became a certified Attitude Determination and Control Officer of the International Space Station. Now, I am a Specialist and spend my time mentoring new ADCO trainees, teaching classes, sitting console for complex operations, and soon, leading my group as the ADCO Increment 58 Lead. And even though the ISS is almost 20 years old, the challenges keep coming - and solving problems is my favorite thing to do!

Outside of my career I am a super-proud-trying-to-hold-it-all-together mom of two little ones (2.5 years and 4 months!), a wife to an amazingly supportive husband, a piano dabbler, and a The Next Generation Star Trek fan. I also love decorating my house, reading, gardening, and designing DIY projects.

Leave a comment and let me know what led you here, what you're passionate about, or a guess on how fast we spin the ISS's control moment gyroscopes! I can't wait to hear from you!

Comments

  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come
    back later on. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Saved as a favorite, I like your web site!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution? On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there i

Hot OJT

Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts. Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz. Controlling ISS during the 61S Soyuz docking! The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years

The Diabetes Transportation System DTS-T1

I was looking forward to the Space Shuttle launch on Monday, then it was pushed to Wednesday and now it is scheduled for Thursday due to several electrical issues from a main engine computer controller. Ironically, our little MH-47G (due to start testing on Monday originally) has been having it's own issues and it is still unclear exactly when we will start testing. And all of this uncertainty, schedule changes, and issue-working reminds me of my little friend Diabetes [come on, you knew that was coming :-)]. Even with hard work, super awesome bolusing skills [ check out Holly's blog today, the number crunching is very impressive] and constant blood sugar checks, Diabetes can still be unpredictable, necessitate schedule changes, and cause the carrier to work through the issues. I have been lucky today, even after a late-night cocktail last night, I woke up this morning at 112, and before lunch I was an amazing 113. I love being steady like that, cruising along with hardly an
01 09 10