Meet Heather Paul
Project Manager for Space Station EVA Tools
Johnson Space Center
Keep smiling. It makes people
wonder what you've been up to.
Who I am and What I do
I work with a team of engineers to create and build
some of the tools that the astronauts use when they're doing a space walk,
or an EVA (Extravehicular Activity), as they build and maintain the International
Space Station. My background is in mechanical engineering. As a project
manager, I have to be a good leader, and guide my team of engineers through
the design and certification process for the hardware. My job is extremely
exciting, but also very time consuming.
I have always wanted to work for NASA, with the ultimate
goal of being an astronaut!
attended Auburn University and obtained a bachelor of science in mechanical
engineering and a bachelor of arts in Spanish. (The Spanish degree was
for fun - I just happen to love learning foreign languages!) I chose Auburn
because of its cooperative education connection with NASA. Once I was
in my sophomore year, I applied for a cooperative education student position
at NASA JSC, and luckily I got it! So, I began alternating between school
and work semesters. While co-oping, I worked in many areas at JSC, including
Life Sciences, Propulsion, EVA Operations, and EVA Tools and Space Suits.
I continued my education at the University of Texas
at Austin and received my master of science in mechanical engineering,
while continuing to co-op at JSC. Once I graduated, I came to work full-time
at JSC, and I've been here ever since.
My advice, for students pursuing careers in this area,
is to stay in school and study hard! Don't get frustrated if you find
a class or a subject that you don't like or don't understand. Stay focused
and do your best. I was never very good at chemistry, and had to take
classes in high school and college. Though it was hard, I got through
and moved on to classes that I loved!
I grew up in Deer Park, a small town on Long Island
in New York. I went to John F. Kennedy Elementary School, and attended
seventh grade at Robert Frost Junior High School. I then moved to Atlanta,
Georgia and attended Sutton Middle School for eighth grade. I went to
North Atlanta High School, and majored in dance in the magnet for the
Growing up, I liked to read many types of books, but
I especially liked science fiction. I have always wanted to be an astronaut,
although I also had interests in being a dancer.
My mother is my greatest role model. She is a strong,
intelligent, independent woman who taught me to set my goals high and
always believe in myself.
live in Houston, Texas. I have a dog, Molly. She is almost four years
old and still has the energy of a puppy! She is a lot of fun, and loves
to catch the Frisbee. My family enjoys traveling together. Unfortunately
we are spread out across the country, so we don't often get to see each
other at the same time. However, we try to take family vacations together
when we can. I love to travel and SCUBA dive, and I am currently lead
singer for a local band called The Banned.
Future Plans and Goals
I plan to continue working for NASA, and eventually I will
pursue becoming an astronaut candidate. I am also considering continuing
on for a Ph.D. in either mechanical or biomedical engineering.