NASA Retains Standing in “2018 Best Places to Work in Federal Government” Score


For the seventh consecutive year, NASA increased its Best Places to Work in Federal Government score and has retained its standing as the number one large Federal agency. NASA’s employee satisfaction score is 81.2%, a 0.3-point increase from 2017.

For a breakdown by Centers: Best Place to Work in Federal Government.

Thanks for another great infographic, Patrick Feeney!

Welcome, Vince Patterson – ODEO Manager, Diversity and Data/Analytics (DAD) Division


Mr. Vincent Patterson reported to National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters on November 26, 2018.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Patterson served as the Director, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) from April 2014 to November 2018. In this role, he led EEO and D&I program management for the enterprise, inclusive of CNIC Headquarters and 10 regional commands servicing approximately 37,000 employees worldwide. Prior to assuming the CNIC position, he worked in the private sector as a Senior Equal Employment Consultant.

Mr. Patterson also served as an Equal Employment Manager at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard Civil Rights Directorate from August 2006 – January 2012. He managed the National Affirmative Employment Program and developed initiatives to educate the workforce regarding legal requirements under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Mr. Patterson was directly responsible for coordinating and leading the agency’s cross-functional taskforce in establishing a Model EEO program under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Management Directive 715. In addition, he was responsible for EEO policy development and strategic implementation of agency procedures related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An expert program evaluator, he conducted numerous EEO technical assistance assessments at the district and field unit levels.

Mr. Patterson is a retired commissioned officer of the United States Coast Guard. He served on active duty from October 1984 to July 2006. During his military career, Mr. Patterson held key leadership positions such as Commanding Officer and Executive Officer at multi-mission operational commands and served as Ethnic Policy Advisor to the Commandant (Agency Head) where he provided expert guidance on Coast Guard D&I initiatives. He earned several military awards that included the Meritorious Service Medal, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals (with operational distinguishing device), Department of Transportation 9/11 Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and numerous other medals and decorations. Mr. Patterson is also a recipient of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s Award for “Exceptional Service in the Public Interest” for his leadership and collaboration in joint federal operations.

Mr. Patterson earned a Master of Science in Human Resources Administration and graduate certificates in both Public Administration and Leadership from Central Michigan University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management, an Associate in Applied Science in Management Studies, and a Certificate of Mastery in Diversity & Inclusion. Mr. Patterson is also a graduate of the Leadership Development Program at the highly rated Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC.

Introducing Janet Sellars, ODEO’s Director of Diversity and Data/Analytics


Ms. Janet E. Sellars is NASA’s Director of Diversity and Data/Analytics, where she serves as the principal advisor to the NASA Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity on matters concerning the achievement and management of a diverse and inclusive workforce, to include but not limited to: NASA’s diversity and inclusion programs, the Model Agency EEO Plan and Annual Update under the EEOC’s Management Directive 715, and special emphasis programs. Ms. Sellars also provides executive direction in the administration of business intelligence tools to inform strategy and solutions for program-related operational goals and objectives to assist NASA in fulfilling its strategic mission and goals.

Prior to her current role, Ms. Sellars served as the Workforce Strategy and Planning Officer at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia where she developed and managed Langley’s strategic workforce plans, conducted analysis, and provided oversight of the implementation of Langley Research Center’s workforce strategy.

During the Presidential transition, Ms. Sellars served as the Acting Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this role she was the principal advisor to NASA’s Administrator and Deputy Administrator on diversity and equal opportunity matters for NASA.

Ms. Sellars previously served as NASA Langley Research Center’s Director of Education where her responsibilities included coordinating educational program efforts for national programs, building relationships with members of the education community and creating initiatives to develop outreach and collaborative efforts with the education community, other agencies, universities and industry.

Ms. Sellars has also served as the EEO and Diversity Director for NASA Langley Research Center. Her responsibilities included ensuring employees were empowered to rise to their highest potential and be valuable contributors to the NASA mission by promoting an inclusive work environment, free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Ms. Sellars was the recipient of NASA’s Honor Award Medal for Equal Employment Opportunity for outstanding leadership in promoting NASA’s EEO and diversity and inclusion efforts during her tenure.

Ms. Sellars completed her undergraduate degree at the University of the State of New York (Regents College). She earned a master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma as well as completed post-graduate work in Educational Leadership at Liberty University.

Ms. Sellars has also served in the United States Air Force as a paralegal and has worked as a college administrator for two graduate degree programs as well as taught paralegal studies at the undergraduate level.

Ms. Sellars was a 2012 recipient of the Women of Distinction – Government award from the YWCA of the Virginia Peninsula. Ms. Sellars was selected for the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Corporate Promotion of Education for 2017 and she is a 2018 recipient of NASA’s Honor Award for Outstanding Leadership.

Black Engineer of the Year Awards at Ames Research Center


Proudly announcing Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) for Ames Research Center (ARC) Employees:

Dr. Wendy Okolo has been selected to receive the Most Promising Engineer in Government Award at the 2019 BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference. She will be honored at the BEYA Gala on Saturday, February 9.

Dr. Marcus Johnson was selected as a 2019 Modern-Day Technology Leader.

Mr. Kevin Jones was selected as a 2019 Science Spectrum Trailblazer.

Mr. Kenneth Freeman was selected as a 2019 Science Spectrum Trailblazer.

Marcus Johnson, Kevin Jones, and Kenneth Freeman will receive awards at the BEYA STEM Conference Technology Recognition Luncheon featuring Modern-Day Technology Leaders and Science Spectrum Trailblazers on Friday, February 8.

Congratulations, all!

Johnson Space Center Hosts High School Student Tour and Info Session


On Thursday, December 6, 2018, Johnson Space Center (JSC) invited high school students from the Vocational Rehabilitation Services program of Texas Workforce Solutions to tour the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL). The students learned about the 6.2 million gallon pool from NBL scuba divers, used virtual reality to glimpse what an astronaut in underwater training sees, and even got to participate in a few science experiments!

The students also heard from a number of representatives regarding student programs at JSC, including High School Aerospace Scholars, the Pathways Internship Program (including a testimony from a current Pathways Intern), Schedule A Hiring, and the JSC No Boundaries Employee Resource Group.

NASA Participates in Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (oSTEM) Conference


From November 15-18, 2018, NASA participated in the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (oSTEM) Conference at the Westin Galleria in Houston, TX. Since 2011, the oSTEM Annual Conference has brought together diverse students and professionals from various STEM fields in the interest of professional development and the creation of safe and inviting places to study and work in the sciences. During the 2018 conference, the NASA team interacted with more than 800 students and professionals who were in attendance.

Students from the Florida School for the Deaf Visit Kennedy Space Center


A group of 5th grade students from the Florida School for the Deaf visited Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex recently. Several NASA employees met with them at the Center for Space Education to share their experiences working for NASA. It was great to see their excitement!
https://www.magisto.com/album/video/JCZ4QFwFEAU6NSwHDmEwCXp-?l=vsm&o=w&c=e

Translations of NASA Documents for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency


NASA addresses issue of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) as required under Executive Order 13166, in part through translations of key strategic documents. The Agency has an LEP Plan for language assistance, including both translation and interpretation.

NASA has translations of Key NASA program documents into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese for individuals with limited English proficiency.

JAN Guidance on Service Animals in the Workplace


The following is guidance from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor:

SERVICE ANIMALS AS WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS: A PRACTICAL APPROACH Because more people are using service animals, employers are receiving more requests from employees who want to use their service animals in the workplace. This guidance is based in part on information from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but does not represent the EEOC’s formal position on these issues or legal advice.

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include a definition of service animal? There is a definition of service animal and specific guidelines in parts of the ADA, but not in the part that deals with employment. Under the employment provisions (title I), there is no definition of service animal and no specific guidelines for employers to follow when an employee asks to bring a service animal to work.

Do employers have to allow employees with disabilities to use service animals in the workplace? Because title I does not specifically address service animals, a request from an employee to bring a service animal to work can be processed like any other request for reasonable accommodation. This means that employers must consider the request, but do not have to automatically allow employees to bring their service animals to work.

What this means for employers: From a practical standpoint, a request to bring a service animal to work is really a request for an employer to modify its no-animals-in-the-workplace policy. If you do not have a policy and allow other employees to bring in animals, then you should allow employees with disabilities to bring in service animals without going through the accommodation process. For employers who have no-animal policies, you must consider modifying those policies on a case by case basis to allow an employee to use a service animal at work, unless doing so would result in an undue hardship.

What this means for employees: You should ask your employer before bringing a service animal to work unless the employer allows animals in the workplace in general.

Can employers opt to provide other accommodations instead of allowing an employee to use a service animal in the workplace? The ADA allows employers to choose among effective accommodations so an employer might opt for another accommodation, although providing a substitute accommodation for a service animal could bring up other tricky issues. For example, the service animal may help with personal, medical issues. Service animals may also provide support that other types of accommodations cannot provide, such as a sense of security, independence, and confidence.

What this means for employers: In general, employers should not be involved in an employee’s personal medical decisions so you should not insist that an employee take care of his medical needs in a different way. Because a service animal often helps with personal medical needs and provides supports that employers cannot provide, when possible you should give preference to an employee’s request to use a service animal in the workplace.

What this means for employees: When requesting to use a service animal in the workplace, you may want to explain to the employer that the service animal also provides personal and medical support.

For additional information, feel free to contact NASA Disability Manager Rebecca Doroshenk at (202) 358-0038, Rebecca.D.Doroshenk@nasa.gov.