NASA is Proud of its Recipients of the Presidential Rank Award

Congratulations to the 19 NASA recipients of the annual Presidential Rank Award, which honors a small portion of the Federal government’s top career employees for extraordinary performance.

This is a highly coveted award and a marvelous recognition of superb performance over the course of these individuals’ careers. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 established the Presidential Rank Awards Program to recognize a select group of career members with a sustained record of exceptional performance.

NASA’s awardees include:
Distinguished Executive Recipients: Charles P. Dovale, Janet L. Kavandi, Amanda M. Mitskevich, Ralph R. Roe, and Eugene L. Tu
Meritorious Executive Recipients: Michael D. Bicay, Derrick J. Cheston, Lisa M. Colloredo, Karen C. Feldstein, Felicia L. Jones, Thomas V. McCarthy, Susan M. Motil, James L. Reuter, Audrey Denise Robinson, Stephen T. Shih, Kenneth O. Todd, Marcus A. Watkins, and Calvin F. Williams
Meritorious Professional Recipients: James B. Garvin

The NASA workforce can take pride in the exceptional recognition received by NASA’s leaders with the knowledge that it is a reflection of teamwork across the Agency.

The Senior Executives Association will honor the winners at a ceremony in downtown Washington, D.C., on December 17 Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will keynote the event.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Observed each October, the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month was declared in 1988 by the United States Congress for October to raise awareness the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.

The 2019 NDEAM theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” NDEAM is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year.

This year, Johnson Space Center sponsored NASA Engineer Tracy Minish as their keynote speaker: “A Vision for Space,” while Stennis Space Center hosted an NDEAM event celebrating the contributions of workers with disabilities, including keynote speaker Dwight Owens (pictured below). Mr. Owens is a disability advocate and has spoken to many different types of organizations to tell his story.

Success!!! NASA’S All-Female Spacewalk: October 18, 2019

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch made history by completing the first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station. This achievement highlights NASA’s continuing efforts toward inclusiveness and the vast contributions of women to the Agency’s mission.

NASA has also unveiled the next-generation spacesuit prototype that will be worn by the first woman on the Moon. The planned spacesuit will have modular components and a sizing adjustment mechanism, to better mix-and-match a full suit configuration for NASA’s increasingly diverse astronauts. This design flexibility aligns with NASA’s Artemis mission to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.

All-Female Spacewalk:
NASA Astronauts Wrap Up Historic All-Woman Spacewalk
NASA All-Woman Spacewalk

Artemis Generation Spacesuits:
A New Spacesuit for Artemis Generation Astronauts
A Next-Generation Spacesuit for the Artemis Generation of Astronauts
Artemis Generation Spacesuits

Speech Recognition Software

Most of us have speech recognition software on our cell phones and computers (Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant). But did you know that speech recognition software can be used to help people with disabilities at work?

Individuals with dyslexia, limited hand/finger movement, learning disabilities and more can benefit from the use of speech recognition software. Check out this brief video from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) to learn more about speech recognition software.

It is often beneficial to test assistive technology before purchase. The Texas Technology Access Program provides 30-day assistive technology loans to help match users with the technology that best fits their needs.

If you have any questions, please contact NASA’s Disability Program Manager: Denise Hendricks,, 202.358.2321.


The Workforce Recruitment Program Provides Easy Access to Highly Qualified Potential Employees

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects Federal employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity manage the program, which continues to be successful with the participation of many other Federal agencies and sub-agencies. Since the program’s expansion in 1995, over 7,000 students and recent graduates have received temporary and permanent employment opportunities through the WRP.

NASA volunteers support WRP by conducting interviews with these individuals. NASA also can access the WRP database and benefit by the hiring of highly qualified individuals through Schedule A hiring authority. The 2019 WRP database is now available at!

Any Federal employee may request access to this fantastic resource of over 2,100 college students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities from over 360 schools nationwide who are seeking summer or permanent employment in Federal agencies and private companies worldwide. Every candidate is Schedule A eligible and ready to work for you. You are welcome to register as a Federal employer and encouraged to share this information with your agency and larger networks! You can register for a 2019 employer account by clicking the “Employer Registration” button at

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.