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Meet: Joanne Maceo

Project Manager
Office of Science and Flight Experiments
Kennedy Space Center

photo of joanne maceo's hnding off the olympic tourch
The Olympic flame is handed off to
KSC runner Joanne Maceo's torch
at the top of Launch Pad 39A, July 7, 1996
Click on picture for a larger version.

Who I am:

I am a Project Manager for the office of Science and Flight Experiments at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). For Neurolab, I am responsible for making sure that the science teams that come to KSC have everything that they need to ensure the success of their experiments. We provide chemicals, lab supplies, and equipment that the teams need to do their work.

I work closely with a group of people from the Bionetics Corporation who perform the day to day tasks associated with the labs and mission support. I try to make sure that everything is planned out properly before everyone arrives here. I also help to resolve any problems that may arise during the experiment processing here at KSC. I also manage several grants to scientists all over the country who perform research on plants and are preparing flight experiments. Managing the grants basically means that I have to track what the scientist is doing and make sure that it is something of value to NASA.

In addition to this I am also the mission manager for several plant experiments. The mission manager has to make sure that all of the proper documentation is completed, procedures developed, and track all of the details required to ensure mission success.

My Career Journey

I wasn't really very studious until I entered high school and then I got serious about my grades (and my future). I read all kinds of books as a child and I still do. I would say that science fiction is my favorite though. I really enjoy Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

I decided in high school (9th grade) that I wanted to have a good career. I studied hard and did well in all of my classes including science and math. I didn't really know what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew I needed good grades so that I could have a choice later. By my senior year in high school, all of my teachers were advising me to become an electrical engineer. I decided to go ahead and pursue that degree in college.

I attended the University of South Florida and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (with honors!). I had a job with Honeywell four months before I even graduated. It was really great. I got to work with several of nice people, work on interesting projects, and travel. I eventually moved out near the Kennedy Space Center and started working for McDonnel Douglas and then NASA. I have spent the last nine years working in the area of shuttle payload processing. That really means that we help customers make sure that their payloads are ready to be placed into the space shuttle and that they will work properly. I eventually was promoted from a systems engineer to a project manager.

Likes/Dislikes about career

There are several positive aspects to my job. I work in a really cool place. There is always something exciting going on around here. I have a great deal of responsibility, but I also have the freedom to make the decisions that I think are required to do my job. I am continually challenged by the operations here. I sometimes miss the real technical work that I did as a systems engineer. Managing projects requires me to make lots of decisions everyday on what will be done and how we will do it. It can be difficult because other people aren't always happy with the decisions that I make because they wanted something else.


I would recommend that any young person who is serious about finding a good career do some research. I think that it is important to understand what people really do day to day in their jobs. It is also important to understand exactly what the requirements are for getting the required degree. Once you have decided on what you want it will be much easier to focus on achieving that goal.

Personal Information

Here is some information on me! I have been married for eleven years. I got married while I was in college and my husband works for Delta Airlines. I have a five year old son named Alex. I also have a yellow Labrador retriever puppy named Belle. The two of them keep me very busy when I am not at work!

I have a couple of favorite hobbies also. I like to jog on a regular basis and I also paint. I have been taking painting lessons for over two years now from a local artist.

My future plans include continuing to work hard here at KSC, continuing to pursue my artwork, and I would also like to start working on a masters degree soon. Another point of interest is that I had the honor of carrying the Olympic torch here at KSC on the launch pad during the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. See picture above.


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