Meet: Alex Sheikman
Senior Instrumentation Engineer,
Nasa Ames Research Center
I am a senior instrumentation engineer. It is my job to make sure that
the instruments (tilt sensors and balance gages on the model) are working
properly and are being correctly recorded by the data system. On this
project Michael Simunditch is responsible for the model mounted instrumentation
and George Fenton is responsible for the balance readings. I coordinate
their activities to make sure we meet our schedule deadlines and provide
a quality assurance check on their data.
It was a toss-up between being a comic book artist and being an engineer.
In the end I decided to became an engineer because I liked to figure-out
how things worked and I liked building different gadgets.
I graduated from San Jose State with a BS in Electrical
Engineering. I worked for a few chip manufacturers in the valley before
I got to NASA. Once I got here I knew I was going to have a great time.
Talk about playing with gadgets!
Positives and Negatives of My Job
There are a lot of challenges that I find exciting. Always trying new
techniques, always trying to get better data than the last test, being
on the cutting edge of technology, and working with great people who have
a "can do" attitude are some of the good things about my job. Probably
the most negative aspect of my job is that our research projects take
a very long time. In some cases we do not see the physical results of
our experiments until five to six years later (sometimes longer).
As A Child
I think that as a kid I did not do too much of anything but chase frogs
and daydream a lot! I did a lot of surfing (the real kind) in high school.
Would that count as a preparation for my job? I think that for any kind
of a career, if you are to enjoy it, you need imagination and the willingness
to work hard.
Just as I mentioned above, I truly believe that imagination is the key
to success for anything you do. Creative solutions to problems and new
approaches to old issues will keep you interested in any field that you
will choose. It is also my personal belief that being able to implement
these new approaches (from concept to something real) will make anybody
successful in their chosen field.
There has been a number of people who influenced me along the way. My
parents and friends were influential, and there were a number of teachers
whose courses impressed me. However, I think that it was the NASA mentors
that were assigned to me after I got hired that were most influential.
They provided a lot of technical direction for me that I am still following
Expectations and Goals
In the very dynamic and changing NASA environment, it is hard to predict
where I might be. I envision my self to be still excited about my work
and maybe becoming a mentor for the new employees being hired out of college.