Who I Am
I am the flight operations manager for Mars Pathfinder. This means that I am
responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the spacecraft after launch. My
background is in aerospace engineering, specifically the design, development and
operation of space missions. I started on Mars Pathfinder five years ago, and my first
job was to identify the interplanetary trajectory we will use to get to Mars.
My Career Journey
I have always been interested in math, science and space exploration, but I really
didn't decide to be an aerospace engineer until I got to college. I got a BS in
Engineering Physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. CU has a good aerospace
engineering department, so I ended up taking some classes in orbital mechanics and space
mission design. It was so interesting that I decided to get my MS in Aerospace
Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. After graduating from UT in 1989, I
came to JPL and have been here ever since.
My parents had the greatest effect on steering me toward math and science. My dad was
a geophysicist for a large oil company, so I got interested in science early. I also had
a couple of professors in college who got me specifically interested in aerospace
engineering and orbital mechanics.