Farewell NASA: The Circular CIO

When I was aschool-aged math student, I always held a special fascination for circles.  I loved trigonometric functions and wouldplay with identities just for sport.  So,here I am now, a more “seasoned” girl and I find myself thinking again about mylove for circles. 

First, let’sdefine a circle.  It is a set of pointson a plane equidistant from another particular point which is its center.  It has no beginning and no end.  It just goes around, and around, and around –from beginning to end to beginning again. 

And here Iam at the end.

Again, atthe beginning.

I’m leavingNASA.  Retiring actually.  Well, kinda. Ending my Federal NASA career and starting a new post civil servantadventure. 

Way back inMay of 1980, I started a nearly 34-year professional career at NASA at GoddardSpace Flight Center.  I was a GS-7 1520Mathematician.  I was in the professionalinternship program (PIP) and had to have great grades to get in and do greatthings to get promoted.  I met anotherGS-7 1520 Mathematician – a shy young girl named Stephanie Gayle Henry who endedup being a BFF for life.  I was a systemsprogrammer on the IBM 360/95 working in Code 500 for Jack Balikirsky.  IBM Assembler Language was fun.  Not for wimps, for sure.

But I leftNASA.  Got married (the first time), to aguy who wanted to move to Seattle.  Twenty-fiveyears, 4 additional Federal agencies, and stint at Boeing Computer Services…later, I divorced and came back to an agency I never wanted to leave.  I came full circle.  Now, I am leaving again – at the end of thecircle.  Again.

As I beginand end, I want to mention a few great NASA leaders that I had the pleasure ofserving under this time.  They all havesomething in common – they are tough … some perhaps in some cases rather mean. 

 I willmention them in pairs, which are almost as good as circles.

Ed Weilerand Rob Strain.  They were pretty toughand mean.  On the surface, they werequite different – in stature and in academic background.  But, at the end of the day, Ed was a thugfrom the South Side of Chicago shaped by the hope and despair that surroundedhim;  and Rob was a thug form Flint,shaped by the hard work and long hours of the tireless men and women in theauto industry.  Both men are tirelessleaders whose love of space made NASA a better place.  One focused his telescope on heavenly bodieslight years away and the other focused his on Earth objects and businesssystems that just kept things running. Thanks Ed and Rob.

Lori Garverand Charlie Bolden.  Pretty tough andmean – well, maybe some think Charlie isn’t mean – but he is a Marine.  Get it. Hoorah.  So, Charlie is anastronaut and Lori is a policy wonk. Yet, this Odd Couple often accused of not getting along have the mostawesome thing in common.  Greatleadership and love of EVERYTHING space. Thanks Lori and Charlie. 

A quickpersonal story.  My husband’s first wifewasn’t especially fond of me.  And Istayed clear of her.  Then our mutuallove, her grandson, broke his foot and was in severe pain.  We were both in the orthopedic surgeon’soffice crying – because this little boy we both loved was in a bad way.  We loved the same thing.  Therefore, we loved each other – the associativeproperty of love.  That’s the real Lori and Charlie. 

So, I’m atthe end again.  Really at thebeginning.  What am I doing next?  Just Google that.  But, I sign off on my last NASA CIO blogsaying that I am leaving and agency I love to start a new beginning again. 

NASA, thanksfor being at my center.  Cureton Out.

LindaCureton, NASA CIO

The End

 

1 thought on “Farewell NASA: The Circular CIO”

  1. Good luck to you! I saw your talk last year at TEDxManitoba and it was fascinating and you have a great sense of humor! Marney

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