Meet: Anita Dodson
Johnson Space Center
Who and What Am I?
My name is Anita Dodson and I'm a graphic communicator (also known as
a graphic artist or graphic designer). Graphic communication means communicating
through a visual image. Graphic communicators are involved in just about
everything you look at. From television programs, billboards, the package
on your favorite cookies, to books, magazines, newspapers and the Internet!
We design the best way to put words, images and colors together so that
it gets the reader's attention and sends a specific message.
What's My Job Like?
I work for Lockheed Martin, a contractor at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
My job is to make the scientific and technical information, which the
scientists and engineers produce, available to the public in an understandable
format. I read technical documents and scientific papers, ask questions
about them, and then translate the information into everyday language
that you and I can understand. I design and produce brochures, flyers,
mission decals, posters, presentations, exhibits, articles and even pages
on the World Wide Web. The best part of my job is that everyday and every
assignment is different. I get to be creative and try new things all the
time. I especially like designing Web sites and working on computers.
The worst part of my job is having to work mandatory overtime every week
and missing my family.
How Did I Get Here?
The person who most influenced me to pursue this field has to be my
mom. She is an artist too, and not only provided me with a living example,
but encouraged me to follow my passion. The best advice she gave me was:
"You can do or be anything you want, just make sure that it brings you
happiness." I believe that everyone should find out what their special
skill, talent or dream is, and let that be the deciding factor when choosing
a career. My dad worked at NASA for 35 years as an aeronautical engineer,
so I grew up in NASA's backyard. Working here now seems normal. I've been
interested in the arts my entire life. I started dancing when I was four
and began taking music lessons in elementary school (I played the piano
and clarinet). I first decided I would pursue a career in art when I was
in junior high. My favorite classes were photography, art and drafting.
In college I worked in the art department of the student newspaper and
freelanced at advertising agencies. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in
Graphic Communications from the University of Houston. After graduation
I worked for an advertising agency and then a magazine publisher. The
job I have at NASA is by far my favorite. It is fun to be a part of the
space program, however small or unique my contribution may be.
What Do I Do When I'm Not Working?
My family takes up most of my time away from work. I live with my husband,
Doug, who is a student (again!) at the University of Houston. We have
two children, Katlyn, who's in third grade and Travis, who's in preschool.
We have one very large dog who thinks he's one of the kids! Our favorite
pastime is laughing. We seem to do that a lot. Someday when the kids get
older and I have the time, I would like to write books.
Learn More from My Chats