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Meet: Karen Crandall

High Speed Research (HSR) Propulsion Project Office - Business Officer
Lewis Research Center

My Job
I'm a High Speed Research (HSR) Propulsion Project Office - Business Officer.

I serve on a number of teams for the HSR project and within NASA LeRC. The teams consist of both government and industry participants and deal with project management and business issues (e.g. finance, scheduling, accounting, configuration control, etc.)

The High Speed Research project provides the aeronautics industry with sufficient technological data so the industry can make a decision to pursue building (or not) a commercial supersonic aircraft (the High Speed Civil Transport) in the next century.

I spend most of the day working with other people either in meetings or via telephone and e-mail. Moving from sub-project to sub-project keeps my job from becoming boring.

The most exciting thing about my job is working on projects that can potentially alter the way we will travel in the future. The most enjoyable part is being able to work with a wide variety of people, from research scientists and engineers to financial managers and administrators and interfacing with industry and other centers. It gives you an appreciation of how NASA fits in the greater scheme of things, and sometimes you get to tell other people that same story. For example, I just finished working with a script writer/producer in putting together a video highlighting our HSR Propulsion Project.

My Career Path
I never felt pressured to avoid math and science. I always liked solving puzzles and that's how I viewed math and science. My parents never treated me any differently when I was in school than they treated my brothers.

I did have to overcome obstacles though. I got married quite young, during my first year of college, so completing college and graduate school was quite challenging. The Co-op program at my university was a big help and provided me with the necessary income to finish school as well as a good look at the work place as part of my educational experience.

In my spare time, I have lots of hobbies to keep me occupied. My daughter is in Girl Scouts so I help out with her troop. I'm also involved with our church's Youth Group and volunteer with the Animals' Disaster Team (it's like the Red Cross for pets). I like camping, hiking and sea kayaking.

While I was growing up, I would've like to have known how to go about contacting women in the sciences who worked for major companies or government agencies. It was only during my co-op periods that I had the opportunity to talk with people working in the areas in which I was interested.

I have two quotes that I like a lot:

"As long as we think dugout canoes are the only real possibility - all that is real or can be real - we will never see the ship, we will never feel the wind blow." -- Sonia Johnson

I don't know the source of this one:

"Whether you think you can or can't, you're right."

So I've always thought that it's better to think you can.


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