Meet: Jennifer Mindock
Avionics Validation and Verification Lead and Test Analyst
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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.
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.
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.