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Meet: Alex Sheikman

Senior Instrumentation Engineer,
Nasa Ames Research Center

My Job
I am a senior instrumentation engineer. It is my job to make sure that the instruments (tilt sensors and balance gages on the model) are working properly and are being correctly recorded by the data system. On this project Michael Simunditch is responsible for the model mounted instrumentation and George Fenton is responsible for the balance readings. I coordinate their activities to make sure we meet our schedule deadlines and provide a quality assurance check on their data.

My Career
It was a toss-up between being a comic book artist and being an engineer. In the end I decided to became an engineer because I liked to figure-out how things worked and I liked building different gadgets.

I graduated from San Jose State with a BS in Electrical Engineering. I worked for a few chip manufacturers in the valley before I got to NASA. Once I got here I knew I was going to have a great time. Talk about playing with gadgets!

Positives and Negatives of My Job
There are a lot of challenges that I find exciting. Always trying new techniques, always trying to get better data than the last test, being on the cutting edge of technology, and working with great people who have a "can do" attitude are some of the good things about my job. Probably the most negative aspect of my job is that our research projects take a very long time. In some cases we do not see the physical results of our experiments until five to six years later (sometimes longer).

As A Child
I think that as a kid I did not do too much of anything but chase frogs and daydream a lot! I did a lot of surfing (the real kind) in high school. Would that count as a preparation for my job? I think that for any kind of a career, if you are to enjoy it, you need imagination and the willingness to work hard.

Advice
Just as I mentioned above, I truly believe that imagination is the key to success for anything you do. Creative solutions to problems and new approaches to old issues will keep you interested in any field that you will choose. It is also my personal belief that being able to implement these new approaches (from concept to something real) will make anybody successful in their chosen field.

Influences
There has been a number of people who influenced me along the way. My parents and friends were influential, and there were a number of teachers whose courses impressed me. However, I think that it was the NASA mentors that were assigned to me after I got hired that were most influential. They provided a lot of technical direction for me that I am still following today.

Expectations and Goals
In the very dynamic and changing NASA environment, it is hard to predict where I might be. I envision my self to be still excited about my work and maybe becoming a mentor for the new employees being hired out of college.


 
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