During the summer before my sophomore year, I received an email from the pre-BBA listserv indicating that NASA was recruiting at Emory for their Johnson Space Center Pathways Program. I was particularly excited because the email indicated that NASA was looking for sophomores interested in business. As someone who is fascinated by space exploration and all the cool things NASA does, I marked my calendar for the upcoming information session and started the application process.
After completing two rounds of interviews, I waited for the decision. By late November, I had an offer for the NASA Pathways position! I then started planning how to fit my co-op tours at NASA with my academic semesters at Emory.
The Pathways Program is designed for students to complete a minimum of three tours before graduating. For business co-ops, you complete three tours: as an analyst in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), as a contract specialist in the Procurement Office and your final tour in whichever position you prefer. With these requirements, I decided to push my graduation date back by one year.
In January, I was sworn in as a civil servant in Houston and became a full-time federal employee.
For my first tour in the OCFO, I was a program analyst supporting Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences. I planned and analyzed funding for the research projects being done on the International Space Station (ISS) and on the ground. For my second tour, I worked as a contract specialist supporting the Projects Procurement Office. I worked on creating, modifying, funding and closing out contracts and purchase orders for projects supporting the ISS and Orion.
Along with working on cool projects and gaining great experience working in the business world, I also had the opportunity to learn more about the history and current projects of NASA by attending tours and lectures. It was amazing to meet Chris Cassidy (Astronaut) and Gene Kranz (Flight Director of Apollo 13). I also had the opportunity to ride in the Mars Rover, shake hands with Robonaut, sit in the cockpit of the Super Guppy, hold a moon rock and watch astronauts train at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab.