Mary Beth Wusk: Biography

Mary Beth Wusk, HIAD Project Manager. <span>Credit: NASA</span>

Mary Beth Wusk, GCD Program Manager (Acting). Credit: NASA


Where are you from?

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio but moved to Virginia at five years old. I have enjoyed living in the Old Dominion ever since.


What motivated you to work for NASA?

I have always enjoyed being challenged. I have always considered NASA to be the most prestigious government organizations to work for. People work at NASA because they are excited about the mission of the agency. I wanted to be a part of that team.


Who inspired you?

My parents always inspired me to shoot for the stars. From an early age they instilled in me the importance of having a strong passion for what I wanted to do in life.


What is your role on HIAD, and what are your responsibilities?

I am the HIAD project Manager. I am responsible for turning exciting scientific ideas into reality. I coordinate the efforts of the team required to meet the HIAD science objectives of the project. Specific duties include: managing the cost, schedule, and risks associated with the project, reporting the progress of the project to upper management, soliciting support for future activities, and ensuring the team is getting the proper resources required to implement the mission.


Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

I have been honored to be part of several top quality teams that have demonstrated new technology on numerous platforms. Experiences range from being the instrumentation engineer on board NASA’s research aircraft as we completed the first GPS auto land to integrating the CALIPSO satellite in Cannes, France with our foreign partners. Each project requires the entire team to deliver their products for the success of the mission. Being a part of a team has allowed me to achieve something much bigger than I could ever accomplish on my own.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

The more hands on experience you get early in your career the better off you will be. Take the time to understand the various disciplines needed to solve a problem, as each individual provides a unique perspective. Working in a team environment, it is important to draw on each team member’s strengths.


What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my family whether it’s playing board games or standing on the side lines of a field hockey game. I also enjoy playing sports myself, camping, and relaxing on the beach.


If you were talking to a student interested in science and math or engineering, what advice would you give them?

Stick with it. You’ll be grateful you did when you’re sitting in the control room watching the hardware you built launch and deliver new technologies to the world we live in today.