Bio

 

A Little About Me

Childhood

I was raised in Oxford, NC with my sister and two brothers.  My parents still live in the house where we grew up. We were across the street from my aunt, uncle and two cousins, and next door to Grandma and Grandaddy Hall. It was an idyllic setting and a happy beginning.

I went to a private school, Vance Academy, in Henderson, NC until the 9th grade. My mother taught high school math and physics there.  She was my Algebra I and II teacher. I took computer programming as a 7th grader during a special short program that my mom taught - my first exposure to computer graphics.   My friend and I made an image of E.T.'s flower wilt and come to life again. Not many people my age started with computers that early!

High School

We transfered with Mom to the closer local public school, JF Webb, when I was in 10th grade. That was a much bigger school and I was able to join the marching band and other programs that weren't available at the smaller private school. But the academics were not at all challenging. I took the one Computer Programming class (remember BASIC on the Apple IIe?) as a sophomore with the seniors.

That year I applied and was accepted to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC. It was set up to provide higher level education of math and science to students around the state who were academically gifted and had already exhausted the curriculum at their local school.  I lived there my last two years of high school, kind of like going to college two years early.  It was the most stressful time I had ever known and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire eye-opening mind-bending experience! There was a great programming class in Pascal where I learned a lot of the coding practices I use now with PHP and ASP.

College

I went to NC State University in Raleigh, NC in 1987. My major was Aerospace Engineering.  I was accepted into the Co-op program with N.A.S.A. and spent 5 semesters as an intern (the program required only 3), alternating between work and school. The standard program is 3 semesters, but I started with 2 semesters at Wallops Flight Facility and then transferred to N.A.S.A. Langley Research Center.  Once there they requested that I complete 3 more rotations with them.  I graduated with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and went to work in the Space Station Office at N.A.S.A. later that summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Co-op experience.  I got a leg up in many classes, included Fortran programming.  I was asked to translate some sounding rocket modal analysis code from Pascal to Fortran before I had taken any class.  When I got back that semester my Fortran class was a breeze.

Work

Web Developer at NASA

After graduating from NC State University in 1992, I went to work at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. I worked in the Space Systems and Concepts Division which was later renamed the Space Station Freedom Office. They performed independent assessments of the space station operations for NASA Headquarters in Reston, VA. I had handled the CAE solid models of the space station as a Co-op and continued after joining full time. I soon moved into animation and became the Visualization Lead, producing computer generated animations of the space station and shuttle flight experiments. One project I created a GUI interface to display satelite wind vector data for weathermen to use to generate video of hurricanes. My methods in everything I did involved writing scripts that I could edit and rerun until I got the effect I was after. I use that experience in my web based programming these days.

A colleague brought this photo to my attention. It was on the NASA Jobs web page. I had on a visor we used in a virtual reality environment room we were building. It was one of the last things I worked on before I left. Kind of cute that they have it on the NASA jobs page.

Interests

I've always been athletic and enjoy almost any sport - golf, volleyball, rollerblading, ice skating, street hockey, tennis... My main extracurricular activity is soccer. I have played on an organized team since I was 12. I play adult co-ed outdoor and indoor, though I must admit indoor is my favorite. I'm always up for a tournament.   There isn't as much soccer in Florida as there is in California.  So I've been enjoying sand volleyball instead.

I also love music. I have never been accused of being good, but I've always enjoyed playing. In grade school I started with the trumpet. Then moved on to the flute, which I enjoyed in the marching band in high school. I played a few times in church at Christmas and Easter. I am hopeless at sightreading, but have a few songs my fingers love to remember. I dabbled at organizing the handbells at church and did a few arrangements as necessary. My brother, Dave, is the real musical talent and we enjoy singing together with his guitar.