Meet Vernol Battiste
Research Psychologist - Human Factors
NASA Ames Research Center
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant
I could hardly stand to have him around. But when I got to be twenty-one,
I was astonished at how much the old man had learned." Mark Twain
Who I Am
I am working on a project that we hope will revolutionize the current
Air Traffic Control System. The project is called the distributed air
ground concept project. Our goal in this project is to increase the
efficiency'and flexibility of the system by distributing needed information
to the system's users (controllers, pilots, airlines, others). Also,
with the additional information users can make better decisions. We
are designing a system, which takes advantage of the distributed information
by allowing the users to make informed requests.
You can learn about the project I am working
on at the following websites.
My Career Path
After high school I joined the Air Force for 9 years. I spent the first
four years as a Jet Engine Mechanic, and the final 5 years as an Air
Traffic Controller. After completing my tour of duty in the Air Force,
I decided that a career as an Air Traffic was what I wanted, so I passed
the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Control Entrance
exam and was sent to Oklahoma City, OK for training. I completed the
training program and worked as an FAA controller at Oakland Center.
After 4 years with the FAA as a Controller,
I was fired by President Regan after the 1981 National Air Traffic Controller
strike, and started a Tennis Court construction business. We sold the
business after 2 years, and I went back to school where I met a professor
in the Psychology department who introduced me to Human Factors: the
study of man and machine integration. This field tries to combine things
that a person does best with things that a machines does best. After
working for a year in Dr. Klapp's lab I was offered a position at NASA,
conducting human factors research.
I have a BA Psychology, California State
University, Hayward, California and a MA Research Psychology, San
Jose State University.
My curiosity and a burning desire to understand
complex systems helped me prepare for this career. My first real experience
with complex machines was working on cars with my uncle.
What I like best about my job
One of the things that I like best about my job is that each day
I get to work on projects that have great relevance to this country,
and to have fun testing the limits of what the next generation Air Traffic
Control System can be. The thing I like least about my job is the time
spent away from my family while on official travel.
As a Child
I was born and raised in Mobile Alabama, one of the original homes
of Mardi Gras. When I was in Mrs. Robinson's third grade elementary
class, I remember thinking that I wanted to be a scientist. Sometimes
little boys' dreams do come true.
I have many fond memories of my teen and
preteen years growing up in Roger Williams Projects. There were many
children around my own age in the projects. We had a very large playground
area where we played semi-organized sports, and next to the playground
were thick wooded areas where we explored and captured small animals.
I attended Central High School, an all black high school in Mobile.
I was not a very focused student and thus achieved only average grades
in high school.
I have two role models: 1) My grandmother,
who raised me, and taught me the values that govern my life, 2) Professor
Stuart Klapp, who introduced me to Human Factors during my undergraduate
studies at California State University, Hayward University. Stuart and
I started out as professor and student, and have become good friends.
As a child I did not read any books for pleasure,
only schoolbooks. From my perspective, this limited my exploration to
locations, and things that only I could imagine. Today I get many ideas
and great pleasure from reading, but I still spend a great deal of time
reading material for work. I just enjoy it a great deal more.
Look for opportunities to find what you are truly interested in
and pursue those interests. Try and find a career that challenges you
and that is fun.
To retire from the government and work part time as a Human Factors
Consultant. If I don't retire from NASA, I would like to conduct research
and design systems to support navigation and geographical orientation
on other planets.
Today I live in San Jose, CA with my wife and 10-year-old son. We
live in the Evergreen district, located in the southeastern foothills
which surround the San Francisco Bay. Another member of our family is
a female Alaskan Husky, named Makita. She is very playful and very smart,
and she loves little children. my hobbies include computers, fishing,
restoring old cars (68 GTO, 70 Mustang, 68 Grand Prix) and woodworking.