Meet: Janis Davis-Street
NASA Johnson Space Center
Who I Am
I am a nutritionist and work in the life sciences. I am part of a team
whose job is determining the nutritional requirements for space flight,
that is, finding out what foods and nutrients are important for the astronauts
as they venture into space. Nutrition is very important in keeping us
healthy here on Earth, and likewise, in space.
My Career Journey
I grew up in - Georgetown, Guyana, which is located on the north eastern
coast of South America, and lived there till I was 19. I went to college
in Ontario, Canada, and completed graduate school in Alberta, Canada.
I immigrated to the US in 1987 and have lived in the Houston area since
I think that the educational experience that was most influential for
me occurred in my final year of college in an advanced nutrition course.
There we investigated and discussed the interactions between nutrition
and health, and it was interesting to see how human behavior could so
dramatically affect health. It was also exciting to consider that I could
in some way be influential in changing those behaviors as a scientist
or as a practicing nutritionist.
Preparation for Career
When I was in high school, probably about grade 9, I wanted to be a doctor,
and have always been interested in science. During high school my friends
and I put on several fund-raising activities to raise funds for graduation,
etc. We did things like bake sales, walkathons, rummage sales, fashion
shows, and concerts. It gave us all great experience in organizing, planning
and budgeting - all of which I use in my job today.
I am a person who likes Middle Eastern, East Indian and Mexican foods
- anything that's hot and spicy. My favorite fruits are guavas and green
mangoes - native of my home country, Guyana. I enjoy drama and have directed
and written a couple of plays while in high school and more recently for
a church presentation. I especially love musicals - my favorites are "Jesus
Christ-Superstar," "Les Miserables," and "Phantom of the Opera." I like
rhythm and blues, reggae and light jazz.
I have traveled to several of the Caribbean islands, several US states
and Canadian provinces, and to England since I was about 4 years old.
I enjoy meeting and interacting with people, and my many travels have
given me plenty of opportunity to do so. I also enjoy trying new foods
and other cultural experiences.
One fact I would like you to remember about me is that I believe that
anything is possible in life with hard work, determination, and emotional
support. I would never have dreamt that someday I would be involved in
the US space program.
My Family: Who We Are
My parents live in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, in the house that
I lived in since I was 8 years old - in fact we moved on May 8, 1970,
one week after my birthday. I enjoy visiting my home, and wish that I
could do so more often. Three of my siblings still live there as does
a little piece of my heart.
I currently live in Friendswood, Texas - which, as the name implies,
is a friendly community located about 18 miles from Houston. I am married
to an organic chemist whom I met while in graduate school in Alberta.
We have 2 sons - Andrew and Matthew, aged 6 and 3. Andrew plays the piano,
is an orange belt in karate, and has a wonderful sense of humor. Matthew
is quite a personality - he has the self-confidence of an adult, and loves
singing, his mum and dad and big brother - not necessarily in that order.
We have 2 dogs - brothers, Max and Peanut. They are a Husky-Australian
Shepherd mix, and at 2 years old have more energy than we can quite keep
up with. We love to go camping and hiking. We all enjoy music and our
household is never quiet for long - you can count on someone to burst
into song at a minute's notice.
My Future Plans and Goals
I think that the space program provides several opportunities to make
science real and exciting for our classrooms. One of my future goals is
to become more involved in communicating the fun and interest of science
to young minds.
One day I hope to help develop interactive computer technology that will
bring space research in the area of the life sciences to high school biology
and chemistry classrooms.
Learn more from my NeurOn Chats
February 19, l998
April 15, 1998