Live From...the Stratosphere
Alan Dunn Biography

Name: Alan Dunn

Position: Instrumentation Technician

Alan Dunn is an instrumentation technician for NASA. His job includes maintaining and repairing current technology, installing the newest technology into planes and equipment, and troubleshooting for solutions to any problems that could arise with NASA's technology.

Sixteen of his twenty years with NASA, Alan has been involved with what he is doing now. He has participated in various technical upgrades that NASA has experienced.

Alan followed in his dad's footsteps to become an technician. His father was a master electrician and always had something around the house that he and Alan would be tinkering with. The clearest memory Alan has of his father was when he was about four. Alan was fiddling with the wires in the back of his television set when he touched two wires together and received a shock that knocked him over. His father came into the room and asked what he had touched. When Alan told him, his dad smiled and said "Won't do that again, will you?"

After completing high school, Alan joined the United States Air Force. This is where he received all of the training he uses to do his job now. He was a part of the USAF for six years, and at the time wanted to be a teacher. It wasn't until a friend in the military talked to him about being a technician that Alan considered it as a career. Another major factor in Alan's career choice was the shortage of teaching jobs in California at the time.

On the home front, Alan has been married for ten years to his loving wife, Fran. He has an eight year-old daughter named Shaina who is currently in the third grade.

Alan says the thing he likes both best and least about his job is the travel. He enjoys visiting new places and all of the excitement in this, but at the same time, he doesn't like having to spend so much time away from his family. Another thing Alan's not too crazy about is the getting dirty part of the job.

Alan's favorite hobby is working with the Boy Scouts. Alan himself is an Eagle Scout and enjoys teaching other scouts about photography and astronomical photography.

For anyone who is planning on going into the technical field, Alan gives the advice of getting an Electrical Engineering or Advanced Technical Degree in college. He advises taking mainly math, physics and electrical mechanics classes as well as a computer course or two because of the recent need for computer-literate employees. However, if college isn't right for you, Alan suggest getting a two- year technical degree from a technical training school.

This was written by Jeff Walling, currently a senior at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, CA.

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