Becky Murray

NASA has been a part of my life since I was born, literally.

You see, on July 6, 1970 I was born on my father’s birthday and surprised my parents by being a girl. They were expecting a son and had only picked out boy names. My parents couldn’t decide on a name for me so my father took this “problem” to work with him. At that time, my father was a NASA engineer and he asked some of his coworkers for ideas on what to name his new baby daughter. Doing what engineers normally do, they started brainstorming and working this “problem” out on a chalkboard. The group of NASA engineers eventually came up with the idea that I should have the same initials as my father since I was born on his birthday and as a result they named me Becky Jean (Register). It was a privilege to grow up with a father that worked for NASA. I loved to hear the stories about the space program and was always interested about what it was like to be an engineer. At a very young age I dreamed about becoming a NASA engineer and working on the Space Shuttle. I even have a school assignment that I completed when I was 10 years old and it confirms my dream.

Having the dream was easy, but making it a reality was challenging. My parents always supported my dream and encouraged me to pursue a career in engineering. However, I did not always have that same support from teachers, counselors or friends. Some people just didn’t think I was capable of achieving such a lofty goal. I didn’t understand why at the time, but looking back it probably had a lot to do with me being a girl that wanted to go into a male dominated field. The fact that I was an average student probably didn’t help others to believe that I could obtain such a challenging degree. This lack of confidence that some people had was hard to accept and it was somewhat discouraging for me. When I was in college I had to study a lot and there were definitely times that I questioned whether or not I had made the right decision in choosing a degree in engineering. During college it became very clear that this was indeed a male dominated field. In many classes I was one of only a couple of females and at times that was intimidating. In addition to these difficulties, I got married while I was a college student and had my first child during my junior year of college. I have never regretted making these personal choices, but they did in fact place additional stresses and obstacles for me to overcome. An engineering degree is challenging, demanding, and difficult, but the good news is that it is achievable.

My dream of becoming a NASA engineer began to come true in 1992 when I became a cooperative (co-op) student while attending the University of Central Florida. As a co-op, I served as an engineer trainee in the Orbiter Communications and Navigational Aids systems. I was so happy to be a part of NASA and even happier to be a part of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP). The co-op experience provided me with an excellent foundation in engineering and gave me the confidence that a career in engineering was definitely what I wanted. In 1995, I earned my Electrical Engineering Degree from UCF and I was ready to go to work full time at NASA. However, it did not happen immediately. Instead of receiving a job offer letter from NASA, I received a letter that advised me and the rest of the cop-ops to seek other job opportunities. NASA had entered a hiring freeze and for the first time in NASA history, they weren’t going to hire their co-ops. My hopes and dreams were quickly coming to an end at the same time that I had planned on them coming true. I interviewed with other companies, but none interested me or excited me like NASA did. I never gave up and in May of 1995, I was finally able to join NASA as a full time system engineer (SE). Having my first full time, permanent engineering job was an awesome experience and I enjoyed every minute of it. In 2000 I left my role as a SE and transferred to the Project Engineering Integration Division and became a Lead Project Engineer where I managed large teams of multi-discipline engineers. I became a supervisor for the first time in 2003 and realized I truly enjoy managing people and helping them develop in their careers. The SSP ended in 2011 and at that time I had developed into a Division Chief position and was responsible for managing a group of professional engineers, scientists, technical experts and administrative personnel responsible for the technical integration of Space Shuttle processing activities. It was a wonderful job and I enjoyed working with such great people and being part of the SSP all the way through the end.

With the SSP over I started a new and exciting endeavor with the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). This new program is leading NASA’s efforts to develop the next U.S. capability for crew transportation and rescue services to and from the International Space Station. During my time with the CCP, I had the opportunity to do a stretch assignment as the Acting Deputy Director of the Human Resources Office. This assignment really took me out of my comfort zone and provided me with extremely valuable leadership experience.

My career has been wonderful. I love what I do and I have never been bored. I have enjoyed all of the positions that I have held and will never forget the many unique experiences that I have had, including working with one of the engineers that helped name me when I was born. I have always had pride and passion while working for NASA. I still have it today, it hasn’t dwindled and I don’t think it will ever go away. Realizing my lifelong dream has been an incredible feeling and I am blessed that it is still on-going.

photo of Becky Murray

Biography

Ms. Becky Murray began her career with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in 1992 as a co-operative education engineer for the Space Shuttle Program. With a 22-year career with the United States space program, Ms. Murray continues to be a solid contributor providing valuable insight and technical excellence. She led several teams at KSC including Chief of the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate’s Ground Projects Branch from 2005 to 2007 and Chief of the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate’s Project Engineering Integration Division from 2007 to 2011. She was the Acting Associate Director of the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate from 2009 to 2010 where she assisted the Director with the management and oversight of all Space Shuttle processing and launch operations at KSC. After the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program, Ms. Murray was the manager of Launch and Recovery Systems for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Ms. Murray helped NASA develop the next United States-led capability for crew transportation and rescue services to and from the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit destinations. She provided reliable leadership and technical expertise in ground and recovery operations systems, processes, and products. Ms. Murray is currently the Acting Director, Human Resources Office at KSC. Ms. Murray has received many professional honors throughout her career, including a NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2009, NASA Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award in 2010, and KSC Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition in 2011.