Preventing Harassment is Just Good Business

Welcome to NASA’s Diversity and Inclusion Blog and part 4 of our Anti-Harassment Campaign post! Certainly, preventing harassment is the right thing to do, and reflects our shared values as a Nation and as an Agency. However, harassment prevention is also just good business.
There is a compelling business case for stopping and preventing harassment. Harassment is incredibly expensive for organizations who disregard the issue at their own peril:

In 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recovered $164.5 million for private sector workers alleging harassment.
In 1994, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board estimated sexual harassment led to a Government cost of $327.1 million, in addition to monies paid through settlements.
Further, harassment causes significant mental, physical, and economic harm to victims, and harms all workers and their organizations through its impacts, by decreased attendance, productivity, and morale; increased turnover; and reputational harm.

Which argument appeals to you more strongly – the ethical or the business case? Why? What benefits and/or shortcomings do you think might be inherent in either case? Is there an argument to be made for an amalgam of both?

I appreciate, as always, your insightful comments!

Steve Shih, Esq.
Associate Administrator
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Hispanic Network Magazine Honors NASA Goddard Engineer Scarlin Hernandez

10 Latina engineers, physicists, techies, and STEM activists are breaking glass ceilings, solving major scientific problems, creating innovative products that save lives, and creating programs for young Latinas. One of them is our very own, NASA engineer Scarlin Hernandez at Goddard Space Flight Center:

“I want to be able to motivate people and tell them they can do it, they can go after their dream. Sometimes they just need to see that one person who fought all of the odds,” she says in a video for NASA.

2018 Great Minds in STEM HENAAC Award Winners

NASA is proud to announce that the Great Minds in STEM 2018 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) Award Winners include 4 honorees from NASA this year!

Professional Achievement – II
Andres Martinez
Program Executive, Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division
Human Exploration and Operations Missions Directorate
NASA Ames Research Center

Most Promising Engineering-Graduate, Ph.D.
Maricela Lizcano, Ph.D.
Research Materials Engineer
Materials Chemistry and Physics Branch
NASA Glenn Research Center

Santiago Rodriguez Diversity & Inclusion Award
William C. Davis
Deputy Diversity & Inclusion Manager/Equal Employment Specialist
Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity
NASA Johnson Space Center

Luminary Honoree
Steven Gonzalez
Technology Transfer Strategist
NASA Johnson Space Center


Armstrong Bring-Your-Children-to-Work Day Inspires Kids with an International Space Station Q&A

On June 28, 2018 Armstrong Flight Research Center hosted its biannual Bring-Your-Children-to-Work Day. The day was filled with fun activities and included a live International Space Station (ISS) downlink for the first time. Over 350 children participated, including local Girl Scout troops and robotics teams. The activities included STEM workshops, a Mission Control Center tour, Life Support, a Model Shop tour, a weather balloon launch, sitting in a mockup F-15 cockpit, gesture controlled computing, and participating in mentor interviews.

The highlight of the day was the ISS downlink, where employees and children enjoyed a live question-and-answer session with Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, a member of the Expedition 56/57 crew that launched to the orbiting laboratory in June. This was the first time for the Agency that a downlink was hosted in an aircraft hangar. The children also experienced a sonic boom and an amazing F-15 flyover to complete their day! Armstrong Bring Your Children to Work Day is one of the best days at work for employees as they get to share with children the work done here and inspire the next generation.

Johnson Space Center: Meaningful Connections by Employee Resource Groups

At Johnson Space Center, the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have some exciting activities and outreach ahead:

The JSC early career ERG is spending a Saturday afternoon visiting the Czech Center Museum in downtown Houston. The museum is honoring Gene Cernan, the last man to step foot on the moon, with an exhibit titled, “A Czech on the Moon.” The exhibit features interviews with Cernan’s family and surprising facts about his life.

The JSC African American ERG is attending the Black Aerospace Professionals Convention and Career Fair in Houston to help increase minority participation in future aerospace careers. The Career Exposition is one of the largest aerospace fairs in the Nation, and it supports the organization’s objective to “increase the number of underrepresented minority professionals, engineers, scientists and management personnel in aviation and related industries.”

The JSC Women’s ERG is hosting a professional development session with the Director of Flight Operations, Brian Kelly. The event is part of a series called “Ask Me Anything,” where JSC employees can engage with leaders in candid dialogue. In this discussion, Brian will kick off the meeting by speaking about the future of the Flight Operations Directorate as well as JSC’s Inclusion & Innovation Council.

Description: Native American Cultural Celebration
Date: 11-09-2017
Location: B2- Teague Lobby
Photographer: Allison Bills

Nationally, Harassment is Pervasive and Underreported

Welcome to the Diversity and Inclusion Blog and part 3 of NASA’s Anti-Harassment Campaign post! I am pleased to say that harassment reporting levels at NASA have been extremely low in recent years: reports of non-sexual harassment have ranged from 47-65 per year, while reports of sexual harassment have ranged from 7-19 per year.

However, I am also cognizant that national statistics assure us that harassment is pervasive and underreported: 25%-85% of women in the United States have reported experiencing workplace sexual harassment, and 90% of individuals don’t file a complaint for fear of disbelief, inaction, blame, or social or professional retaliation.

Harassment is a potential huge risk for our workforce and mission. It is unknown whether workplace harassment is—truly—not a significant issue at NASA or—alternatively—may be underreported and undiscovered. As former Acting Administrator Lightfoot stated in his video Anti-Harassment Campaign message, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

At NASA, we are committed to providing a safe environment for reporting to take place. Your comments on this subject are most welcome. Is NASA succeeding as a safety culture? Are all NASA employees confident that they are valued and respected?

Thank you for your thoughtful responses to these vital questions!

Steve Shih, Esq.
Associate Administrator
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Langley Research Center Celebrates Unity Through Diversity

The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and the Employee Resource Groups at Langley Research Center collaborated to produce a Langley Expo event on July 31, 2018 in the Integrated Engineering Services Building 2102, celebrating the talents and diversity of the Langley workforce!

Employees exhibited their homemade works and hobbies; taught classes in art, music, and history; and providing musical entertainment throughout the day. Key events include a unique panel discussion on diversity, “Langley’s Identity,” hosted by the Langley Emerging and Advancing Professionals (LEAP), a special performance by Illusionist Douglas Michael, and trivia at Afterburners hosted by the LGBTQ Employee Alliance Group (LEAG).

The event highlighted diversity and inclusion, educated the workforce, and recognized the diverse talent across Langley with support and participation by leadership. The Langley’s Identity panel, moderated by Chief of Staff JD Reeves, emphasized unity – a key element in inclusion – and how the full spectrum of our different roles and responsibilities connect us to each other and mission.
Please take a look at the great photos of the event here:

Marshall Space Flight Center to Host 25th Marshall Small Business Alliance Meeting on September 20

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the Marshall Space Flight Center will host the 25th Marshall Small Business Alliance Meeting at the Davidson Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

This event is open to anyone with an interest in the NASA/MSFC marketplace. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to network with MSFC Senior Managers, Acquisition Personnel, Small Business Technical Coordinators, and Small and Large Business Prime Contractor representatives.

If interested in attending the event, contact the MSFC Small Business Office at 256-544-0267.

ODEO Associate Administrator Steve Shih Discusses Diversity and Inclusion as Mission Critical

ODEO is proud to announce the highlighting of our own AA Steve Shih in STEM Workforce Diversity magazine, in its spring 2018 edition: Steve’s comments are on pages 17-18, “Diversity is Mission Critical for NASA’s Innovation.”

Steve discusses the criticality of diversity to NASA’s mission success and capacity for innovation. He attributes much of NASA’s effective embrace of diversity and inclusion to the commitment of NASA leadership, by their emphasis on D&I as an Agency value as well as a strategic priority.

By focusing on organizational goals, effective execution, and performance evaluation, Steve maintains, organizations can demonstrate a return on investment, thereby reinforcing the value proposition of D&I as a mission-enabler.

NASA is Working Proactively to Prevent Harassment

Thank you for tuning in for ODEO’s blog regarding NASA’s anti-harassment efforts! In February, NASA embarked on an Anti-Harassment Campaign for 2018. NASA seeks to proactively prevent harassment at NASA and promptly correct harassment when it occurs, as this effort dovetails with our goals to assure the safety and effectiveness of NASA’s workforce and mission.

NASA defines harassment as any unwelcome conduct, verbal or physical based on an individual’s race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, genetic information, or gender identity, or retaliation for making reports or allegations of harassment or providing information related to such allegations when: the behavior can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work environment, or an employment decision affecting the employee is based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct.

What focus would you like to see NASA consider, as we move forward on this initiative? What challenges do you believe we face, in attaining this mutual goal? What alliances can be fashioned or strengthened to ensure mission success?

Thank you, in advance, for your ideas on these and other issues.

Steve Shih, Esq.
Associate Administrator
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity