One of my greatest accomplishments that I am most proud of is developing a web development training module to expose the younger generation to website programming. Since 1999, I have taught web development classes to hundreds of elementary and middle school students in two of NASA Goddard’s education outreach programs, SISTER (Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering and Research) and SUNBEAMS (Students United with NASA Becoming Enthusiastic About Math and Science). During these training sessions, students are provided with hands-on experience in developing a web page while learning basic hypertext mark-up language programming concepts. Each year the excitement and passion is rekindled as I continue to teach this class and share the skills that I am obtaining with the younger generation. In the future, I hope to build on this experience and develop new educational opportunities to share what I have learned with others. Sharing my knowledge and experience with the younger generation has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my work career.
One valuable lesson I have learned in life thus far is that you should never stop learning because it is the gateway to living life beyond limits. When we stop learning we limit ourselves and we hinder our growth. Because of my desire for learning, I am the first one in my family to receive an Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Secondly, we should strive towards excellence and be the best that we can be. One of my favorite sayings that motivate me goes like this:
Good, better, best
Never let it rest
Until your good is better
And your better is best
Just like there are no boundaries in outer space, we should not allow boundaries or road blocks such as past experiences, mistakes, doubts or procrastination prevent us from being the very best person we can become. Take each life experience and use it as a stepping-stone to boost you to your next destination.
My many positions at NASA Goddard have been very enriching, fulfilling and exciting. I am grateful for the growth opportunities that I have received along this journey. I feel like a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. I continue to look forward to new experiences that will propel me to the next level on my journey. I am honored and blessed to be a member of the NASA family.
When Charlene Butler was growing up, she, along with many other young people, thought that it would be cool to work for NASA one day. Little would she have guessed that her dream would begin to unfold during ninth grade for it was in Ms. Butler’s freshman year that she decided on a career in the Computer/Information Technology (IT) field. Ms. Butler remembers saying to herself ‘One day, I would love to work for NASA.’ As it so happened, in her junior year during the work-study job interview event, a NASA Human Resources representative came to her school to recruit students for internships. During her interview, Ms. Butler vividly remembers being impressed at the very large stack of folders of persons who had interviewed before her. Days later, she was ecstatic to receive the official word that she had been chosen as one of the students to work at NASA – the only female from her school along with two male classmates. With that selection, Ms. Butler recognized that her dream was becoming a reality. Every since that day, Ms. Butler says she has thoroughly enjoyed and been grateful for the many learning opportunities and educational assistance that was afforded her during her 19 years as a NASA employee. Currently, Ms. Butler works as an IT Project Manager for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Data Rest Encryption and Smartcard projects. Working at Goddard has provided the opportunity to explore a variety of IT career fields that play a key role in supporting NASA’s Space Exploration mission. Ms. Butler’s past work experiences include working as a Computer Security Officer, Special Assistant to the Chief Information Officer, Project Support Specialist, IT Specialist, and Management Analyst. From communicating with the instruments that are orbiting in outer space to securing the network and NASA’s sensitive information from cyberspace intruders to managing projects, Ms. Butler says she has enjoyed a wealth of NASA computer and IT career opportunities.