I live in Bowie Maryland, I have a wonderful, loving and forgiving wife (Janelle), 2 children ages 5 & 2 ( Nikolas & Ryan). We also have a dog (cocoa), two birds, a turtle and some miscellaneous fish. I love to work outdoors, yardwork, gardening, any thing to get outdoors. On occasion, we go camping and hiking, not often enough.
Currently I am the deputy product team lead for the HST flight software products, this means I am responsible for any of the products delivered/created for the HST flight software: the flight software itself, testing of the software, simulations of the hardware, test tools, hardware labs etc... Our main objective at this time is to re-build the flight software for a new host computer, we planning on replacing the current flight computer (custom made) with a 80486, in the 1999 servicing mission.
I knew that I wanted to be in the scientific/engineering field from early on, probably in grade school. I enjoyed problem solving, not math type problems but physical and engineering problems. I believe I decided on heading down the computer software field in high school, but later I expanded into physics and computer engineering to broaden my knowledge.
The thing I enjoy most about my job is still the problem solving aspect, when something on the space telescope breaks, I enjoy working the problems and coming up with a software workaround for it. The thing that I like least is working management issues.
I think the best way to prepare for this type of job is to explore your own talents and interests by hands on experiments. There are many books out there in the libraries and stores that can show you simple scientific experiments to perform, find out what interests you the most.
Three people (or programs) stand out in my mind that probably helped me down this path. My middle school had a program that let the students choose our afternoon classes (after the basics were taught), these classes were *hands-on* type classes, we did a lot of fun *scientific* type experiments. Also my high school biology teacher taught us that we are intelligent animals and that we have a choice in everything that we do, but that we have to accept the consequences of our actions. If you don't like what you are doing - - do something else, until you find something you do like, but accept the consequences. The third was my college physics professor, who gave me the tools I needed to understand the physical laws that we need.