Meet: Joanne Maceo
Office of Science and Flight Experiments
Kennedy Space Center
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.
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
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.