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Meet: Erin Genovese

Experiment Support Scientist
NASA Ames Research Center

photo of erin genovese

What I do:

I am an Experiment Support Scientist for a shuttle payload called Neurolab. My job is to help design and develop the experiments that are scheduled for this payload. I am also very involved in coordination of the ground control experiments that occur at Kennedy Space Center during the mission. I have had the opportunity to train the crew members that will be performing the experiments in orbit. My job mostly requires great organizational skills, a good solid biology background, and a high tolerance for working to near future deadlines.

My Career Journey

I had a BS and an MS in microbiology and worked in field research for about a year and a half. I really wanted a job that was related to science but I did not want to continue doing research. The advertisement for this job sounded like a perfect fit.

Preparation for Career

As a child I liked to rearrange things. I rearranged my bookshelves, my room, my closet, etc. I like to make sense of things that were not in order. It is pretty clear that I was born with my logistical/organizational skills. I grew up in a house out in the country, so I spent a lot of time outside, in nature. The plants and wildlife were all around me and impossible to ignore. I suppose that environment encouraged my love of biological systems and life sciences.


My high school biology teacher and my major professor in graduate school.

Likes/Dislikes about career

Positives are:

    working with a great staff
    opportunity to see the launch and landing of the shuttle at KSC
    meeting the crew members for our mission (all great people)
    challenge of dealing with a big logistical puzzle
    opportunity to travel for meetings and launch support
    working with scientists from all over the world
Negatives are:
    extended travel for launch support (approx. 3 months for Neurolab)
    high pressure deadlines


A young person interested in pursuing a career like mine should concentrate on good writing skills. It is absolutely critical that you present your ideas and thoughts in a clear and understandable manner. A strong biology background and good computer skills are important too. It is also good to have experience working with international people.

Personal Information

I'm from a small town in Illinois. I have lived in the bay area for about 3 1/2 years. I did farm labor and worked in a record store during high school. I worked in the housing office at my university during college.

I'm an identical twin (she is an admissions counselor at a private university). I don't have kids. I do have fish. My father is an actor on TV. My mother is a stained glass artist.

I rollerblade, bike, and hike when I want to play outdoors. I read, go to movies, and decorate my house when I want play indoors.


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