It wasn’t until I started working for NASA that I became aware of the agency’s great mission. At that time I was assigned to support 15 engineers, so I learned a lot about the agency’s shuttle program just by preparing their presentation charts. The shuttle launches increasingly inspired me and made me want to be a part of the agency’s mission. NASA provided me with various opportunities to advance. My greatest accomplishment was earning a Bachelor of Science degree through the agency’s continuing education program, and the happiest moment of my career was transitioning from secretary to management analyst prior to receiving this degree.
Another highlight of my career was when I received recognition for suggesting an improvement to a NASA-wide concurrence process. At the time I was a division-level secretary and prepared a lot of correspondence packages. In those packages, various tabs (ie, enclosure, incoming, background, or signature) were needed. However, NASA had not established a form to use as an enclosure tab that was like the other tabs. Therefore, this tab had to be created each time a correspondence package was assembled. So, I submitted a suggestion recommending that the agency create the form. This suggestion was evaluated NASA-wide as a way to expedite the concurrence process and was immediately nominated for adoption. One year later, to my surprise, I received a $1,100 cash award for making the suggestion. Under a mandate from the former Acting Deputy Administrator, NASA Form 1658, Enclosure(s), was created. That’s when I realized my value to the agency.
Another highlight in my career happened when I was expecting a child. As my due date approached, staff members were very attentive towards me, ensuring that I didn’t do anything strenuous. Prior to giving birth, they gave me a surprise baby shower. They arranged to have someone take me to lunch while they decorated and assembled gifts and guests. On returning from lunch, my supervisor pretended he had official business to discuss with me and escorted me to the conference room. As I walked in the conference room, everyone was assembled. It wasn’t just the staff members that worked with me, but it was employees from other offices that I interacted with over the years. That’s when I realized that NASA values family.
Life now is so different from when I was child. As with many people from single-parent households within inner cities, my family experienced many financial challenges. So, working was necessary to help out with family expenses. Because I didn’t see college in my future, I never imagined I would eventually obtain a degree. Nor did I ever imagine that I would be placed in a position to manage an agency program, providing authoritative and comprehensive advice and guidance to agency employees. My mom has been the biggest influence in my life. From her, I learned the value of faith, family, and respect for others. I am so appreciative and grateful to all who played a role in my development and who helped me get to where I am today.
Growing up in an inner city as a child born into a single-parent household, Nanette Jennings’ hopes for a bright future seemed hopelessly compromised. But, Ms. Jennings, through her federal career with NASA, rose above such inauspicious beginnings to become the agency’s Directives and Regulatory Manager, responsible for managing NASA’s Directives System and overseeing its Regulatory Program in which she plans, develops, implements, and administers directives and regulatory concepts, processes, and requirements. She achieved this remarkable rise through hard work, personal dedication to the agency and its goals, and enrollment in NASA’s Continuing Education Program (CEP). Through CEP, she earned an Associate degree in Business Management at the Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in 2006. Following this enrolment, Ms. Jennings was accepted into PGCC’s alliance program with the University of Maryland University College, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in Management Studies in 2008. Ms. Jennings has not only advanced herself but has taken her personal experiences and translated them into community volunteerism for the betterment of other females growing up in straitened circumstances. For example, from 1996 to 2000 she volunteered with the United States Young Marines Program, serving as the Female Executive Officer who mentored girls (ages 8 to 18) on proper etiquette, personal hygiene, and interview skills – all of which will serve these girls well, affording them an opportunity to follow in Ms. Jennings’ footsteps. She continues to remain active in the community by serving on various ministries within her church which enables her to translate her professional experiences.