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 is b…

Critical Space Item: Handle With Extreme Care

Someday I want to open a box. The box will be neatly wrapped up with an excessive amount of packaging. Its contents will have been years in the making, and even though it won't weigh much, this small box will represent a huge step forward.


As most flight hardware begins, the space-rated closed-loop insulin delivery and monitoring device inside the box will be sterile and stark. But as the batteries whir to life and insulin is placed within, it will become an extra appendage, an external pancreas, for this Type 1 astro-hopeful. Bluetooth connections will be made and doctors, hungry for telemetry from my bionic body, will be at the ready. We will rely on each other - he on I for his very existence, and I on him for my continued existence. Together we will make up one whole, completely functioning, Type 1 Diabetic astronaut.

Admittedly, this dream feels further and further from reality. I have lived with this disease just under 20 years now, and the cure has always been "just 5 …

On 20 years with Type 1 Diabetes

I think it's finally time to hit 'publish' on this post, considering it's been sitting here for, oh you know, like 2 weeks now ;-) Sometimes I "April" about things too much (this is Chris's term), and with my dad here for Christmas I realized that it's definitely a trait passed down, haha, love you dad!


To be honest, I never thought the day would come when I would say, "I've had Type 1 Diabetes for 20 years."

20 years ago a cure was 'just on the horizon' and as an 11 year old kid I took that phrase to heart - I had to. My continued existence was based solely on whatever the endocrinologist said - pancreas, insulin, autoimmune, blood sugar, islet cells, shots. I didn't know what I didn't know at that point. I had never heard of an insulin pump or glucose meter. Ketones and hyperglycemia were just big, meaningless words. Carb ratios and counting might as well have been formulas for travelling at light speed. I wasn't ov…
01 09 10