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Meet: Jennifer Mindock

Avionics Validation and Verification Lead and Test Analyst
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

photo of jenifer mindock

Who I Am
My name is Jennifer Mindock and I grew up in Longwood, Florida, which is just outside of Orlando. In addition to the warmth and sunshine, one of the greatest aspects about where I grew up was how close I was to Kennedy Space Center. I remember standing in my backyard and jumping with excitement as I watched the shuttle climb into the sky, leaving its pillar of smoke behind. Days later the windows of our house would shake as double sonic booms announced the successful return of the shuttle and we knew it was on its way to landing at Kennedy Space Center. This exhilaration I felt has not faded, and since I can remember, I've always wanted to work in the space program.

While growing up, I would constantly ask questions about space. Most of my school reports would be on space-related topics if I had the choice. When I was in high school, I worked hard and took as many college credit classes as I could to learn as much as possible. This hard work paid off when I applied for a summer program at Kennedy Space Center for high school students. I was accepted and loved learning about Mechanical Engineering that summer. This helped me realize engineering was something I would enjoy.

Image of Jennifer and her friends on the ski slopesWhen I went to college at the University of Florida, I decided to study Aerospace Engineering. I quickly became involved in the student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and eventually became president of our chapter. I also began to work on research projects for one of my advisors to gain more experience outside the classroom. The summer after my 2nd year, I attended an incredible program called the NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center. The following summer I worked at The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, California, and the next summer at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California. When graduation approached, I knew I wanted to work on a Mars mission and I accepted a position at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

What I do
I am currently working on the Mars Exploration Rover Project, which will launch in 2003. I work on the Avionics, which are the electronics or "brains" of the spacecraft. I have two roles on the Avionics team. I am the Avionics Validation and Verification Lead, which means I keep track of all the things that need to be tested on the electronics. I am also a Test Analyst, so I am one of the people actually conducting those tests in our lab to make sure the spacecraft functions correctly. Every day is exciting because we are always testing something new. I will continue working on this project until September 2002, when I will attend Stanford University to earn my Master's Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Outside of work I enjoy staying active.

Free time!
Image of Jennifer and her friends ready to hang glideI love to rollerblade at the Rose Bowl or the beach, hike, and attend dance classes for tap and ballet. I also love to travel and take trips to visit my family and friends, to SCUBA dive, to rock climb, or to just explore a new area. I love to learn about other cultures and experience their way of life by visiting.


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