Three Graduates Joining NASA from One Engineering Department

For a university to land even one graduate in a given year at NASA is a nice accomplishment.

For one department to have three graduates head to the nation’s space agency doesn’t just speak volumes, it yells them.

Carol Miselem in the Apollo-era flight director seat at Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas.

Carol Miselem in the Apollo-era flight director seat at Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas.

This summer, the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering will see three of its own—Justine Barry, Carol Miselem, and Meghan Green—head to Houston to work in various roles at the Johnson Space Flight Center.

The three finish their UT careers on Friday, May 8, with the College of Engineering’s 3:00 p.m. graduation at Thompson-Boling Arena.

All three graduates will be working in some capacity on flight operations surrounding the International Space Station. Barry, a mechanical engineer, will be working on thermal control, while Miselem and Green, both aerospace engineers, will work on life support systems and space station control, respectively.

Justine Barry stands next to the current flight director's seat at Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas.

Justine Barry stands next to the current flight director’s seat at Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas.

The three got the opportunities after noticing a call for applications from Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, a NASA contractor that oversees various aspects of flight control.

“I took a chance because I was interested in the opportunity, but I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it,” said Barry. “One of the things I’ve learned since coming to UT as a nervous, shy freshman is to always take that chance, to get involved.

“That’s paid off for me.”

Green has long been intrigued by the work done at NASA.

She said that a high school science teacher got the ball rolling by encouraging her and helping her find her passion for “the field I need to be in.”

Meghan Green

Meghan Green

Green will eventually be working as the attitude determination and control officer, the person responsible for the overall control and orientation of the space station.

“It’s hard to conceptualize that I’ll be in control of the space station itself,” said Green. “It’s such a big responsibility.”

For Miselem, the path to space began from the ground level.

Having come to UT as an architecture major, she switched to engineering to follow her love of math and physics.

She will be working as an environmental and thermal operating systems flight controller at NASA.

“I’ll be in charge of the life support systems, air, making sure it’s at the proper temperature—basically the things that keep the astronauts alive,” said Miselem. “Having that direct contact with the astronauts on the station is something I will enjoy.”

Before assuming their new positions, all three will spend fifteen months to two years training, a process that continues even after they start working.

CONTACT:

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)