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Tom Walsh



I am currently the manager of the Project Data Base (PDB) Office. The PDB is the group of files used by the ground system to send commands to the spacecraft and process information (telemetry) sent to us from the spacecraft. The PDB Office maintains, updates, and processes all change requests for all of the PDB files. We work with System Engineers, Project Scientists, and software programmers to make and test all changes to the data base.

I was an engineering major at the University of Maryland. I became interested in NASA and space projects after a guest lecturer in one of my classes showed us a presentation about the history of space flight and the predictions for the future, including the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). I completed my undergraduate degree and applied for a job with the HST Project. After I worked here for a year, I went back to school for a Master's Degree in Engineering/Space Systems to enable me to further my career.

The best thing about my job is that I get to feel that I contribute to all of the new information that the telescope discovers. Whenever I read about a new discovery, I am happy that I work with an on-going project.

The thing that I like least about the job is paperwork/meetings. These are the day to day activities that need to get done by a manager, but are pretty boring.

When I was younger, I always liked math and science. I always worked hard at these subjects and felt good when I did them well (especially when I was in high school and my parents couldn't help me with my math homework anymore). I always read any type of book I could, especially novels by Steven King. This helped me with my imagination. I think that imagination is very important for engineers to enable them to think their way through tough situations as well as enable them to think up ways to solve problems that are very difficult. I would advise any high school student who may be interested in this type of field to get a 'technical' degree in college. This degree may be in engineering, math, science, or computers. I feel this type of training prepares people for many type of jobs and will always be useful in life.

My grandfather was an electrical engineer. He designed electrical systems for mines back in the 1930's & 1940's. He traveled around the world and was very well respected. I only knew him for a few years, but I was always inspired by him. I think that I got my math/science skills from him.

About myself:

I am 28 years old. I have a wife and two children. My son, Sean Ryan, will be 3 years old in May and my daughter, Kelly, is almost 4 months old. They are really great and I love to spend time with them and our dog, Brandy (a 6 year old basset hound). I lift weights and bike regularly. I still play soccer in a men's league (I've played since I was 5) and love to watch/play soccer anytime. I also have a part time job as a Zamboni driver (a Zamboni is the machine that clears the ice in between periods at hockey games).

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