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Black History Month QuestChat
Date: February 17, 1999
Featuring: Jennifer Murray
Biomedical Engineer
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 12:33:06 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Black History month chat with Jennifer Murray from NASA Kennedy Space Center will begin at 1:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. Be sure you have read Jennifer's profile at http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/univ/vsm/mentors/docs/jennmur.htm before joining this chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 12:33:32 ]
Once the chat begins, Jennifer will attempt to answer as many of your questions as she can, but please be patient. We have many people registrered for today's chat. Therefore, today's chat will be MODERATED so Jennifer can keep up with our questions. This means that only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be held in our chat queue and posted as Jennifer answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 12:33:52 ]
Remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided before posting messages to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 12:34:15 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 10 - 13:02:15 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Black History Month chat with Jennifer Murray from NASA Kenndy Space Center. Jennifer's work takes place within the Biomedical Office at Kennedy Space Center. She performs various functions relating to the design and testing of medical equipment and patient monitoring systems. She also participates in launch and landing activities that affect the safety of the astronauts.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 12 - 13:02:34 ]
And now, here is Jennifer Murray to answer your questions.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 17 - 13:04:39 ]
RE: [MrsC] is this what you always wanted to do?
I have always wanted to do something technical so I started out in electrical engineering. But I also have had a love for helping people, so when I heard about the discipline of biomedical engineering, I knew that it was a perfect match....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 18 - 13:06:15 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] I like skiing too...I started at five years old. With a biomedical engineering degree, you can assure your mother you would be in good hands!
Yes, I would be if I don't break my hands skiiing! My first day living in the United States I broke my wrist roller skating, so this of course gives my mother ammunition!

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 19 - 13:09:06 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] Why did you choose biomedical engineering and how does it differ from an electrical engrg and medical school background?
One area of biomedical engineering is a specialty of electrical engineering because you are specifically applying electrical applications to biomedical devices and systems. As a biomedical engineer, I received a condensed version of the first year of medical school. This knowledge is needed to apply technology to the needs of human science...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 23 - 13:11:24 ]
RE: [Phillip] What kind of GPA did you get in high school? What did you do in high school to prepare you for your major(s) in college? Did you get a scholarship?
I graduated one year early from high school with a 3.5 grade point average. I emphasized math and science courses, finishing with advanced placement calculus and physics. I also completed two years of chemistry. This preparation in high school made college work easier....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 26 - 13:13:17 ]
RE: [Theresa] Are there any classes that you wish you would have taken in high school that would have better prepared you for college? If so, what classes?
No, I was able to take all of the classes that would best prepare me for a technical degree --physics, calculus, chemistry, biology....and of course english which is needed to better write technical papers....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 28 - 13:16:54 ]
RE: [JeffK/CHS] If you could've do anything different in your career, what would that be?
If I knew at the time that I graduated with an electrical engineering degree that I would grow to appreciate biomedical engineering, I would have pursued a biomedical engineering job at the beginning of my professional carreer. Also, my love for knowledge in the field has refreshened my interest in medical school. Many biomedical engineers go on to pursue degrees in medicine....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 30 - 13:18:58 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] Are you involved in any biomedical engineering projects in preparation for the international space station and/or attempts to land on Mars?
Currently, I am not involved in any biomedical engineering projects concerned with the international space station, however, these projects do exist...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 33 - 13:23:28 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] How do you directly participate in lauch and landing activities?
When I was working in the Biomedical Office I was part of team of engineers responsible for supporting communication between medical staff from the firing room console, and working in the field supporting the helicopters that were stocked with medical equipment and staffed with medical personnel.....

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 34 - 13:26:08 ]
We'd like to remind you to share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 35 - 13:27:03 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] What do you see yourself doing for NASA in ten years with your background?
A chance to dream! I could see myself as a project manager over very interesting biomedical projects that would make a difference for people living in space....

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 38 - 13:30:35 ]
For those of you interested in participating in other Black History Month chats, be sure to check our BHM chat schdule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/special/mlk99.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 39 - 13:31:40 ]
RE: [MrsC] What type of medical problems could keep an Astronaut from going into outer space?
Typically, NASA looks for astronaut candidates with no current medical problems. I do know that all medical issues listed on their applications are reviewed carefully. This is done to ensure the astronaut's safety in space...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 40 - 13:34:39 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] What characteristics does NASA look for in prospective employees to hire?
NASA looks for technically competant individuals who have aspirations to make a difference in the space program...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 46 - 13:37:53 ]
RE: [Gloria/CHS] What kind of jobs have you had before this one?
My professional career began with NASA straight out of college. My first assignment here at KSC was as a computer networks engineer for 4 years. I then transitioned into the Biomedical Office for 3 years, and now I am working in the Engineering Development directorate where I am getting instrumentation design experience...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 47 - 13:40:54 ]
RE: [rickeymann] was it harder to have equal rights during your studies because of your racial background
Yes and no. There were some professors who didn't see the wisdom of looking beyond the skin tone, but there were others who in maturity realized that every person is special from the inside out. I have fostered some meaningful friendships with my past professors. They inspire me in my desire to become a professor one day....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 49 - 13:43:00 ]
RE: [Jayson] Do you think that technology is advancing way to quickly in this day and age?
Technology is indeed progressing at a rapid rate but I don't think that the rate is a problem because it is innovation that makes life easier and fascinating at the same time.....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 53 - 13:45:46 ]
RE: [MrsC] why do you like math and science so much?
Math and science are challeging to me because there is always a unique set of answers. Also, knowledge of math and science is what enabled the great scientists of this world to invent the devices that enrich our lives today....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 54 - 13:50:17 ]
RE: [JeffK/CHS] Have you ever aspired, or do you aspire to ba an astronaught someday?
To be an astronaut would be a great honor. To have the opportunity to view God's earth from a distance and to be closer to the stars of the heavens would indeed be awe-inspiring! My vision of NASA in the years to come is that we will be at the forefront of hopping from one planet to the next in our efforts to chart the universe and discover new life....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 55 - 13:53:22 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] How much report writing do you do? Do you have to appear in front of lots of people and deliver speeches?
We are responsible for timely reports on our daily project activities. It is very important to keep a good record of work completed so that we can both track progress and enable future team partners to be adept in the work....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 60 - 13:55:54 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] Does NASA offer any scholarships or internships to students interested in biomedical engineering?
Yes, NASA does offer scholarships and internships in this field to NASA employees as well as people outside of this organization....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 61 - 13:58:08 ]
We are busy at NASA working on all sorts of new technology so it is by no means inconceivable that we will have this capability in the future! Dreams come true!

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 63 - 13:59:21 ]
RE: [rickeymann] how much gas does a rocket use
I don't know how much gas that a rocket uses but I do know that it is oxygen and hydrogen that are used for combustion...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 66 - 14:08:39 ]
RE: [JeffK/CHS] What was your greatest accomplishment in nasa?
My greatest accomplishment is on the personal side. I had the opportunity of leading the first KSC Bone Marrow Registration Drive and with the help of many NASA people and contractor personnel we were able to set a record in 1996 for the most people registered in a one-day drive in the southeastern states -- 900 people! The first match recently occurred from this drive for a man diagnosed with leukemia. The American Red Cross gave me the honor of transporting the marrow to this man recently and I will forever be thankful in sharing in the opportunity of saving someone's life. We have a lot of people here at KSC who would gladly give the gift of life to someone with no other hope for living.....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 67 - 14:14:57 ]
RE: [MrsC] what do you do in your spare time?
Currently I feel like I have no spare time becuase I am in school again! I need sleep!! I currently attend classes at the University of Miami, which is a 4 hours drive from Kennedy Space Center. I am taking two classes towards my Ph.D. in electrical engineering/medical informatics. My spare time is limited not only because of the studying but also that I maintain a 40 hour a week work schedule and attend classes in Miami. If I had spare time I think that I would be sleeping!!

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 125 - 04:38:12 ]
RE: [Jon/CHS] has there been any very bad accidents over there lately
I haven't heard of any recent accidents here so I am very happy for that. We strive to implement numerous safety measures here to ensure the health and well-being of all. We also have well-trained emergency and medical staff located right here at Kennedy Space Center.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 126 - 04:41:05 ]
RE: [rickeymann] what is the average salary for a person in your field
I checked a recent publication from a popular magazine and the article stated that starting salaries for engineers fresh out of college are at at average of $40,000 in the United States.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 127 - 05:36:20 ]
RE: [joshua] how many people trane to go in outer space
There are many astronauts currently training to go in outer space. Usually 6 or 7 astronauts fly on each mission. I believe that the full astronaut crew is listed on the Johnson Space Center web site--- http://www.jsc.nasa.gov

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 128 - 05:39:17 ]
RE: [Sheena] What did you plan to be when you where littler.
When I was young I initially wanted to be a teacher because I always had ideas for how information could be presented in better ways. So now, I spend a lot of my time mentoring students and tutoring students in math and science courses. I find helping students to be enjoyable...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 129 - 05:42:32 ]
RE: [mikal] Do you think it was harder to become a member of nasa because of your race?
No because NASA seeks a competent, diversified workforce. I am happy that I was considered to have met these qualifications....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 130 - 05:47:39 ]
RE: [Brittney] Are you considered part of the military? If so, what part?
NASA is not a part of the military. We are a separate government organization. NASA has flown missions for the military, however. Kennedy Space Center is next to Cape Canaveral Air Station which is part of Patrick Air Force Base. NASA operates the unmanned commercial flights(rockets) that take off from Cape Canaveral Air Station.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 131 - 05:51:30 ]
RE: [jeremy] What kind of extra curricular activites did you participate in during your middle shool years?
During middle school a participated in track and field, basketball, spelling bee contest, reading(I love to read!), piano lessons, and various church activities....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 132 - 05:59:41 ]
RE: [jennifer] Have you ever thought about changing jobs?
I have changed jobs 3 times within NASA since being hired by NASA. That is what is wonderful about working here. There are so many different assignments here for you to pursue for your professional growth while keeping your mind stimulated. Because NASA is always involved with new technology, I am fascinated by all of the innovative developments that NASA produces each year.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 133 - 06:04:52 ]
RE: [Sara/RPI] I am currently a Biomedical Engineering student. I would like to work at NASA when I graduate. Is there someone I can contact?
Yes. Several of our NASA centers hire biomedical engineers. I would suggest connecting to our main web site-- http://www.nasa.gov for connections to all centers. This way, you can gain more information about what biomedical engineers are doing at each center. There should be information about employment opportunities and contact personnel listed on each of these web sites for further information...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 134 - 06:12:40 ]
RE: [Sarah] What is a "firing room console"?
The firing room is the main control center from which launches and landings are coordinated. You may have seen this room on television during launches and during missions. There are several rows of computers with people sitting behind them monitering mission activities. During launch here at KSC, one doctor and one biomedical engineer sit in the firing room where they monitor all of the rescue personnel dispersed around the center (i.e. fire fighters, nurses, doctors). In the event of an accident, emergency operations are coordinated by the doctor and engineer.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 135 - 06:34:43 ]
RE: [JeffK/CHS] What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to go bike riding, skiing, racket ball, reading, tutoring, helping people, and going to Church....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 136 - 06:38:13 ]
RE: [Chantal] when you were a kid were you good working on computers?
When I was a kid, there were no computers in the schools! In high school there were a few. My brother used to play with a computer but I didn't really use a computer until college.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 137 - 06:43:54 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] What are some of the rules you have lived by, that you feel has brought you such happiness and success?
The rules that I have lived by are my faith in Jesus Christ, honesty, kindness, love for one another, integrity, and long-suffering. These personal rules have all helped me during my trials and triumphs and I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 138 - 06:46:15 ]
RE: [Chantal] How many other biomedical engineers are at NASA?
Here at KSC there are only a handful of biomedical engineers. But there are many more at other NASA centers....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 139 - 06:50:35 ]
RE: [MrsC] how many hours do you spend studying at night?
I study mostly on the days that I don't work because I work very long hours. So for an average week I may study Saturday through Tuesday, 5 hours per day. But many weeks I am not able to meet this schedule because of my body requirements for rest after my long commutes.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 140 - 07:24:42 ]
RE: [Sheena] How does it feel to be a woman controling a mechine that most people would think that is for a man. Why do you enjoy math and science
It feels real good to be a woman in science! To me, science and mathematics are puzzles that solve. So in that way I get satisfaction. Also the answers to some of the puzzles are facinating and help you to understand what makes the world go around......

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 141 - 07:27:02 ]
RE: [jennifer] Do you have kids?
No, I haven't birthed any children yet! But I consider all of the children that I mentor and tutor to be my children....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 142 - 07:30:32 ]
RE: [TomM/CHS] How many years did you go to college
A B.S. degree in electrical engineering is a 5 year program. A M.S. degree in biomedical engineering is at least a 2 year program attending class full time. A Ph.D. electrical engineering program will take between 2 and 7 years to complete the research....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 143 - 07:32:46 ]
RE: [JeffK/CHS] If you become a professor, Where would you want to teach?
If I teach one day I would be interested in teaching at the two schools that are close to my heart, Florida A&M University and University of Miami....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 144 - 07:37:21 ]
RE: [Jon/CHS] What kind of animals do send into space?
I know that we have sent mice and monkeys.........

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 145 - 07:43:45 ]
RE: [rickey] at the year 2000 when everything is supposed to crash, how bad do you think it is going to affect nasa
NASA has been at the forefront of preparation for any Year2000 crisis. Our engineers have worked hard in this preparation so we do not expect any anomalies. But if any anomalies do happen, the engineers will be ready to implement corrective action.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 146 - 07:47:26 ]
RE: [jeremy] How does being a Biomedical Engineer affect your personal life, like with your family?
Because I am always hearing about new medical studies regarding health issues, I tend to "encourage" my close friends and family to maintain a healthy life style. (i.e. exercise, eating at least 3 fruits a day, drinking 1 gallon of water each day.) These are the kinds of things that I bug them about. They call me the water lady....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 147 - 07:48:52 ]
RE: [rickeymann] what is the limit in age to where someone can't go into space
Hi rickymann, I like your sign-on name. There is no limit to the age of an astronaut. The only limitation is on the health of an astronaut...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 148 - 07:50:07 ]
RE: [Brittney] Will a biomedical engineer be required to go in space to operate the equipment?
No, any person who goes into space is trained on all of the equipment and experiments...

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 149 - 07:51:31 ]
Here at KSC, we get to meet all of the astronauts. They are always nice in coming back here to tell us about their time in space.....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 150 - 07:55:27 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] Who were your role models? Mentors?
My role models have been my father and my mother, who spent time with me every night with my homework, my teachers over the years that have motivated me to do my best, my friends for their support, and all of the people that I continue to meet that wish me the best in my endeavors....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 151 - 08:00:32 ]
RE: [Louis/AdventureinScienceAIS] Have there ever been times you didn't feel motivated to get through a pile of work? How did you motivate yourself?
My motivation has always been to keep my eyes on the goal and not on what is before my very eyes! This has worked for me especially when trials presented themselves to me. There are also those times when your mind needs a little break so I often read magazines about new studies in my field, or search the internet for such information. This method has been a great help to me in keeping my eyes on the goal!

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 152 - 08:03:25 ]
RE: [Chantal] Did you ever like reading in school
I have always loved to read. You couldn't keep books away from me when I was growing up. Books help you to become a well-rounded, well-spoken individual. My mother used to have to turn my bedroom lights out because I wouldn't stop reading. That only encouraged me to go to the window and read my book by the street light! That is probably why my eye sight is waning....

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 153 - 08:08:59 ]
RE: [Josy] Is NASA working on any sensors that monitor more complex biological systems like the homeostatic mechanisms of the human body? If so, could you describe an example? What are some special challenges that zero gravity present for biomedical monitors? Does "terrestrial" testing pose significant limitations on the research and design of a particular sensor? Could you give a thumbnail timeline of R&D for a particular device in your lab and it's implementation into actual use in the field?
Yes, Ames Research Center recently completed just such a sensor. The sensor can monitor the pH for a fetus. This is a good example of new technology. You can get more information at the following web site-- http://s2k.arc.nasa.gov.

[ JenniferMurray/KSC - 154 - 08:16:13 ]
RE: [MrsC] how long do you plan to do this?
I hope to be a biomedical engineer with NASA for the rest of my professional career. There are numerous avenues for growth here and NASA will forever be seeking those ground-breaking technologies that so interest me...

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 62 - 13:59:09 ]
EVERYONE, we will be now ending our chat with Jennifer Murray. Please let us know your thoughts about today's chat at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 64 - 14:00:53 ]
We hope you will be able to join us for our next Black History Month Chats tomorrow, February 18, with John Hines from NASA Ames Research Center and Janice Everett from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Find out more about these chats at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/special/mlk99.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 65 - 14:03:18 ]
Learn about other upcoming chats with NASA experts at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events.


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