Meet: Mary Reveley
NASA Lewis Research Center - PSAO Office
Who am I?
I Work in the Propulsion Systems Analysis Office (PSAO).
The PSAO is a systems analysis group within NASA Lewis' Aeronautics Directorate.
We analytically predict the thermodynamic cycle performance of a variety
of air-breathing engines, perform aeromechanical engine design, aircraft
trajectory calculations, economic assessments, and environmental analyses
in support of many NASA aeronautics programs. I specifically calculate
the costs and benefits of implementing new propulsion and aviation technologies.
My Career Journey
It is very difficult to decide what you want to do
with your life when you are not even eighteen years old. There's so much
to choose from and so little that you are aware of. I had difficulty in
deciding in what direction I wanted to go with my life. I loved art but
decided I didn't want to be a "starving artist." I also loved
animals, and thought of becoming a veterinarian, but since chemistry and
I didn't get along, I decided against that route. I have always liked
math, science and airplanes. It wasn't until my sophomore year in college
that I decided that a good way to combine the three would be to study
aeronautical engineering. My career path has changed continually as my
interests have changed. The job market for aeronautical engineers was
tight when I graduated from college. My first job after graduation was
working as an accident reconstructionist (car accidents) and expert witness
(in court). I didn't enjoy this, so I decided instead to teach high school
math. I found this to be too stressful. It's not easy motivating high
school students to like and learn math. Finally I found a job at NASA
and spent the next eight years designing fluid systems (piping, valves,
pumps, etc.) in support of aeronautical research.
Designing piping lost its luster and I yearned to
get back to what I studied in college: airplanes. I was fortunate to obtain
a transfer into the Propulsion Systems Analysis Group, which got me back
The best way to prepare for your future career or
careers is to take as many math and science classes as possible. It is
also important to have computer skills and communications skills. This
means taking English and foreign language classes. Whatever career you
choose, you can't go wrong with a strong background in all of these. If
you are anything like me, you'll change your mind as you life goes on.
Likes/Dislikes of My Career
It's exciting to be working on state of the art concepts,
being challenged to push outside the envelope, and always working on something
new. I enjoy working with people from other NASA centers and traveling
for my job.
Since I enjoy interacting with other people, sometimes
working at my computer gets tedious. I'm married with two small children.
It is difficult to balance my work life with my family life. Fortunately,
NASA allows for a flexible work schedule to help me balance the two. Also,
being organized is important.
Influences in My Life
No one influenced me to take math, science, or become
an engineer. In fact, some people tried to discourage me from doing so.
I give credit to my father and mother for raising me with enough confidence
and self worth to go out into the world and choose my career without allowing
others to limit my options. Interestly, my father never liked engineers,
but supported me in my chose anyway.
I am married with two girls that are five and seven
years old. I like to play volleyball, soccer, and softball. I also enjoy
drawing and painting, camping, hiking and spending lots of time with my
I plan to continue to learn more about aeropropulsion
and the aviation industry and use the knowledge to do my job better. I
also plan to learn how to fly a plane, go skydiving, travel and spend
time with my family
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw
off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in
your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Archived QuestChats with Mary