Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

Meet: Anita Dodson

Graphic Communicator
Johnson Space Center

Who and What Am I?

My name is Anita Dodson and I'm a graphic communicator (also known as a graphic artist or graphic designer). Graphic communication means communicating through a visual image. Graphic communicators are involved in just about everything you look at. From television programs, billboards, the package on your favorite cookies, to books, magazines, newspapers and the Internet! We design the best way to put words, images and colors together so that it gets the reader's attention and sends a specific message.

What's My Job Like?

I work for Lockheed Martin, a contractor at NASA's Johnson Space Center. My job is to make the scientific and technical information, which the scientists and engineers produce, available to the public in an understandable format. I read technical documents and scientific papers, ask questions about them, and then translate the information into everyday language that you and I can understand. I design and produce brochures, flyers, mission decals, posters, presentations, exhibits, articles and even pages on the World Wide Web. The best part of my job is that everyday and every assignment is different. I get to be creative and try new things all the time. I especially like designing Web sites and working on computers. The worst part of my job is having to work mandatory overtime every week and missing my family.

How Did I Get Here?

The person who most influenced me to pursue this field has to be my mom. She is an artist too, and not only provided me with a living example, but encouraged me to follow my passion. The best advice she gave me was: "You can do or be anything you want, just make sure that it brings you happiness." I believe that everyone should find out what their special skill, talent or dream is, and let that be the deciding factor when choosing a career. My dad worked at NASA for 35 years as an aeronautical engineer, so I grew up in NASA's backyard. Working here now seems normal. I've been interested in the arts my entire life. I started dancing when I was four and began taking music lessons in elementary school (I played the piano and clarinet). I first decided I would pursue a career in art when I was in junior high. My favorite classes were photography, art and drafting. In college I worked in the art department of the student newspaper and freelanced at advertising agencies. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Communications from the University of Houston. After graduation I worked for an advertising agency and then a magazine publisher. The job I have at NASA is by far my favorite. It is fun to be a part of the space program, however small or unique my contribution may be.

What Do I Do When I'm Not Working?

My family takes up most of my time away from work. I live with my husband, Doug, who is a student (again!) at the University of Houston. We have two children, Katlyn, who's in third grade and Travis, who's in preschool. We have one very large dog who thinks he's one of the kids! Our favorite pastime is laughing. We seem to do that a lot. Someday when the kids get older and I have the time, I would like to write books.