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Online From Jupiter 97

Karen Deutsch

Cognizant Engineer

a photo of Karen Deutsch

My Field Journals

My name is Karen Deutsch and I process the spacecraft pointing data for the Galileo project. Pointing is the direction you would see if you were sitting on the spacecraft and looking in the same direction as the camera. I started work on the Galileo project right after launch. I really enjoy working on a flight project, being right at the cutting edge of science and exploration. I'm not going to be able to go into outer space. But I like to think of myself as being part of what enables later science teams to go out and explore.

I have always liked science and math. I was on my high school's chemistry team. In college I was only able to compete against other women in chemistry. (It was assumed that the women's competition was easier than the men's, because the really good scientists are men, right?) In fact, when I started my freshman year of college, I was not allowed to major in engineering because it was only open to men with high grades. All women, and men with lower grades, had to try to transfer in as juniors.

Choosing a major was hard on me. In high school I could just pick all of them. I majored in math, science, and foreign language. In college I kept switching from math to chemistry, to biochemistry, to biology, and back to chemistry. When I graduated I was a math major with a biochemistry minor. In graduate school, I was allowed to major in only one subject (at a time). So I have a master's in pure math and a master's in cell biology. Fortunately grownups don't have to pick just one thing to learn.

I have two children: Erica, who is in third grade, and Elliot, who is in seventh. My husband, Les, also works for JPL. We live in Chatsworth, CA, in a house recently repaired from the Northridge earthquake.



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