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Hubble Careers Hubble Careers

There are a lot of important roles to play in a mission as widespread as Hubble. Meet some of the people in those roles in the Hubble Careers series.

Colleen: Payload Flight Software Manager
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the Payload Flight Software Team Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to manage a team of software engineers that maintain the software on the Scientific Instruments and the computer onboard the telescope that is dedicated to the management of the scientific instruments.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
My Quantum Mechanics professor when I was doing my undergraduate work in Physics. She truly enjoyed teaching about atoms and subatomic particles. She inspired me to explore and investigate not only what we can see, but what we can’t.

What I like about my job:
I like the people that I work with on the Hubble project. We all have a general love for the telescope and the wonderful science that we get from it. I enjoyed being part of the servicing missions that brought new and exciting capabilities to the telescope.

What school subjects do I use at work?
System Engineering, Math and Physics

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
HubbleSite.org
NASA.gov
INCOSE.org

What I like to do when I'm not working:
My free time is spent with my daughter and taking care of my 1800’s house on my horse farm.


Lars: Systems Administrator
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm one of many Systems Administrators for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to maintain and configure the 600+ computer workstations and servers that the scientists, engineers and technicians use when they operate and monitor the Hubble Space Telescope.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
Years ago, when I was a boy, a neighbor allowed me to help him repair old radios. After we got them working, I was hooked on electronics and later computers.

What I like about my job:
My job gives me regular opportunities to meet people involved with many different kinds of space science. I also enjoy the challenge of new things every day---there is always a new problem to solve.

What school subjects do I use at work?
I use skills learned from Electronics and Computer training in the U.S.Air Force.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
The Internet, it is a great resource, just Google It!

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I enjoy watching SciFi / Action movies, as well as flying Radio Controlled Helicopters.


Padi: Deputy Project Scientist
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the deputy project scientist for operations for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to provide scientific advice and guidance to the project management team, as we work to maximize the scientific impact of Hubble today, and extend its productive observing capabilities as far into the future as possible. I spend some time doing scientific research, and I’m also involved with public affairs activities related to Hubble.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
When I was a freshman in college, I went on a Society of Physics Students field trip to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. We got to watch as scientists and engineers took observations with an orbiting space telescope, and saw some new instruments being built for future space science missions. I knew right away that I would love to work at Goddard some day, as a scientist involved with space telescopes, and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to do so!

What I like about my job:
I love coming to work every day surrounded by people who want to discover new aspects of our Universe. In addition to developing ideas for novel observations and new technologies to make them possible, it is incredibly inspiring to see Hubble at twenty five years on orbit making cutting-edge observations in areas of astrophysics that didn’t even exist when the telescope was launched---areas like exoplanets, and dark energy.

What school subjects do I use at work?
I use math, physics, and computer science regularly, but the school subjects I use the most are definitely English and writing.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
The book and television series “Cosmos”, by Carl Sagan, or the follow-up series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” are both excellent introductions to what astronomers do.
The International Astronomical Union has a Careers in Astronomy page.
The American Astronomical Society has a Careers in Astronomy page.

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I spend as much time as I can with my husband and our two boys. I’m also part of a six-voice a cappella group that writes and performs original music, some of which is about science.


Bill: Chief Engineer
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the Chief Engineer - Ground for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to manage all aspects of the HST Ground System at Goddard. The Ground System is used by the engineers at Goddard to send commands to the telescope and receive and analyze data from Hubble. I make sure that the Operations team at Goddard has the tools they need to ensure the overall excellent performance of the telescope.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
I was always interested in technology and was fascinated with the Apollo missions when I was young. Working for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is a great way to be a part of that legacy.

What I like about my job:
I enjoy working with an extremely talented and dedicated team. This is not just a job for us; we take the mission of the Hubble Space Telescope very seriously. I am very proud of the science that we help produce.

What school subjects do I use at work?
I have used almost all of my Computer Science courses over my career. Being able to write and speak is also very important, so my English classes were very helpful.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
NASA has excellent resources to learn more about Hubble. The 25th anniversary site is a great place to start. My career as a ground system engineer started when I took my first programming class in high school. I have taken many different computer programming classes throughout my career. There is always something new to learn. I would recommend taking a course or using the Internet to expand your computer skills.

What I like to do when I'm not working:
My focus outside of work is my 3 children. I enjoy keeping up with their school and sports activities.


Cathy: Financial Manager
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the financial manager for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to formulate and execute the budget for the Hubble Space Telescope. I work with the engineers and the scientists to make sure that all needs are being met with the proper resources to ensure the continued success of the mission.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
As a child, I was interested in space; particularly in planets and space travel. When I was in high school, I took an Accounting course. Because of that course and teacher, I fell in love with the financial side of things. In college I pursued a degree in Business with minors in Accounting, Economics and Sociology. I also passed my CPA exam and I got my MBA. I worked for NASA fresh out of college. Then, after the pursuit of other opportunities in the private sector, I came back to NASA. I love working for the public sector and would not trade it.

What I like about my job:
First of all, I love the people that I am surrounded by at NASA. The culture is diverse and there is always something to learn and take away from each encounter. I also love the science that we do and the missions that are built here. Although I am not in either the science or engineering professions at NASA, my job is a part of the backbone that supports the science and the missions. Without us all working together, there would not be any success stories.

What school subjects do I use at work?
I use math, finance, computers, accounting, statistics and also English and writing.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
American Institute of CPAs
AGA Certified Government Financial Manager organization
NASA.gov
Hubblesite.org
Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I enjoy doing cardio kickboxing.


Kevin: Technical Manager
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the NASA Science Operations Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope project. My job is to work as a member of the small team of NASA scientists, engineers, and managers who provide government oversight to the contractor responsible for conducting the science operations aspects of the mission. These activities include allocating observing time on the telescope, scheduling the observations, calibrating and archiving the data received, and sharing the latest Hubble discoveries with the public. As part of my job, I lead the annual evaluation of the contractor’s performance, approve things like information-technology-related system purchases and foreign travel, and generally work to solve budgetary and technical issues related to the goal of keeping Hubble as scientifically productive as possible.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
A high school friend named Don got me interested in astronomy. He was building a telescope. We joined an astronomy club together and were mentored by a remarkable man named Earl. Not only was Earl an amazing amateur astronomer, he was also a Pennsylvania State table tennis champion, a champion weightlifter, a member of the U.S. Senior Olympics biking team, and a graphics artist (by trade). Earl showed me that even “ordinary” people can do extraordinary things if they have enthusiasm and work hard.

What I like about my job:
Since I love physics and astronomy, I love participating with the scientists and engineers who provide leadership to the Hubble team and who share their understanding and excitement of the observatory’s results. I also really enjoyed being “on the console” for the last three Hubble servicing missions, as well as serving as editor in chief for a NASA publication called the “Hubble Science Year in Review.”

What school subjects do I use at work?
Scientific knowledge of all kinds, but especially of astronomy and physics. It’s also useful every day to know how to speak and write clearly.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
Check out the career information links at NASA’s main website and at the home page of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Here are some good places to start:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Jobs and Internships at NASA Goddard
Careers at NASA

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I love spending time with family and friends, observing with my telescope, taking pictures, giving talks about astronomy, reading, singing, and writing poetry.


Ben: Systems Engineer
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) Lead Science Instrument Systems Engineer for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to maintain the health and safety of the instrument and ensure instrument performance is suitable for science operations.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
I participated in the NASA Minority University Interdisciplinary Space Internship (MUSPIN) in college while doing my undergraduate studies in Physics. Interning in Astrophysics and visiting several observatories including Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tuscon, Arizona and the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico really inspired me to be a part of studying the universe.

What I like about my job:
I love the idea that I’m responsible for the dissemination and collection of data to help humans understand their surroundings. I feel lucky to be a part of helping answer such important questions to the human race.

What school subjects do I use at work?
Math and Physics dominate understanding and operating spacecraft systems. More importantly, I often need to use my writing and presentation skills to illustrate instrument changes to peers and senior management.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
Hubblesite.org is an excellent resource to get anything and everything Hubble related.
Universetoday.com is great place to visit to stay in the know about our universe.

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I love sports! I’m very active with participating in basketball leagues and bike riding.


Ken: Astronomer
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
I'm the project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. My job is to be a science champion for Hubble. That means I have to understand what Hubble does. I work with NASA engineers to make sure we're learning all we can about our universe.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
I took weekend classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago while I was in high school. I met some scientists, some of whom taught at the University of Chicago, who inspired me to attend that university.

What I like about my job:
I really love the idea of exploration and understanding how the universe works. I like being part of a team that is working on something big.

What school subjects do I use at work?
Obviously, I use skills learned from my math and physics classes, but I also have to write.

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
An excellent website is Hubblesite, which has resources and links, activities for kids, books, pictures, computer things, all kinds of stuff.

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I enjoy woodworking.


Ann: Illustrator and designer
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How do I contribute to the Hubble Space Telescope mission?
My job involves working with scientists and educators to develop content for print and web products. After content is nailed down (although that can change during the production process), I generally design a layout and create graphics for whatever format is wanted — for example, for a brochure, or a webpage, or an explanatory graphic to accompany a press release about Hubble Space Telescope findings.

What or who inspired me to really go after the profession I am in now?
It's difficult to name one entity. I suppose my biggest influences have been Alice and Martin Provensen, Ben Shahn, Edward Gorey, Heinrich Kley (illustrators), and Paul Klee (artist of the early to mid-20th century). Also, as it relates to the information graphics field, Nigel Holmes and other pioneers who found new and exciting ways to parlay information with symbols and art.

What I like about my job:
I enjoy transforming raw data into easy-to-understand graphics. Even more than that, I love illustrating scientific concepts and, on the rare occasion, cartooning or creating whimsical designs. Working with people with very different ways of thinking is interesting (artist vs. scientist, in my case!). It's great to have a chance to learn new software and to share my enthusiasm for the Hubble Space Telescope. I've met and worked with some "stars" in the astronomy community.

What school subjects do I use at work?
I use math, English, art, history, and civics to some extent (any organization is a community with rules and roles).

Resources I would recommend checking out to learn more about my career:
http://www.theispot.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Visualization
http://www.metmuseum.org
http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/winners_2013.jsp
http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/05/01/information-graphics-taschen/
http://www.creativebloq.com/graphic-design-tips/information-graphics-1232836

What I like to do when I'm not working:
I read pretty voraciously — fiction, non-fiction, essays, biographies, histories, pop culture, editorials and news. I work the New York Times crossword puzzle every day but Saturday (one almost needs to be a Rhodes Scholar to do that one!) — it's my "mental floss." Indie (independent filmmaker) films inspire me. I still play classical piano a bit, but despite having studied for 10 years and auditioned at Peabody Conservatory, my talent in that area is slim. Still, I love to hear good music and keep my hand(s) in, as it were! Also, I have a passion for travel. I've been all over the world and hope to see more.