Rula Coroneos

I was born in Crete, Greece and immigrated to the United States in my junior year of high school. I went with one of my sisters to live in Salt Lake City, Utah with our grandparents and uncle. At first it was difficult being away from my family and friends and not being able to speak a word of English, but I enjoyed studying mathematics, the universal language of science. After graduation from high school, my parents encouraged me to come home to Greece. My sister went back but I decided to stay and attend college. I was accepted at the University of Utah, and although my dream was to become an architect, I quickly realized that this was not going to be possible because of my difficulties with the English language. I majored in mathematics and graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Utah. While attending college, I also worked at the university accounting office. My undergraduate years were often difficult, but in the end, it was certainly worth it!

Upon graduation from the University of Utah, I moved to Cleveland, Ohio, attended Cleveland State University, and received a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics. While at Cleveland State, I tutored students in the math department, worked full time in the Controller’s office, and took courses in the evening. For me, the journey to NASA was unexpected. While at Cleveland State, a classmate who worked at NASA Glenn Research Center (formerly Lewis Research Center) told me about the opportunities at NASA and encouraged me to submit my application. A couple of months before graduation, I received a job offer. I was nervous and excited at the same time and found it almost unbelievable that NASA would hire me. Although I strived to study math and science, I never imagined in a million years that I could ever be a part of the NASA family.

I started as a Mathematician in the Scientific Services Branch of the Computer Services Division and have been at NASA Glenn for 24 years. In the Scientific Services branch, I gained valuable experience, mainly because I was fortunate enough to work with a mentor (Dr. Jim Guptill) who is not only a great mathematician and scientist who loves his work, but who is also a great human being. On my first day of work when the Branch Chief, Dr. Bill Ford, asked what kind of a computer system they should order for me, I asked for an “SGI workstation like Dr. Guptill’s.” My Branch Chief’s response was “You do realize that this is a forty-thousand-dollar computer and you don’t know how to use this computer like Dr. Guptill does, do you?” I said, “No, I don’t, but I will learn.” …and the rest is history.

Since my first day at NASA, I learned how to make use of these powerful workstations to perform programming and visualization tasks, mainly in structural analysis and optimization areas, and supporting NASA Glenn engineers and collaborating with them on solving their math related problems.

With NASA’s support, I went back to Cleveland State University and recently obtained a second Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, I am a Research Aerospace Engineer in the Multiscale and Multiphysics Modeling Branch of the Materials and Structures Division. I use computers to perform complex simulations for multistage turbomachinery analyses, finite element analyses, and optimization of airframe structures and space vehicles. I always try to challenge myself in my work at NASA by stretching my understanding and seeking improvements. Anyone can achieve their goals if they put their minds to it and work hard.

photo of Rula Coroneos

Biography

Rula Coroneos was born in Crete, Greece and immigrated to Salt Lake City, Utah in her junior year of high school. Even though her English was limited, she understood and studied mathematics—the universal language of science—with ease. Rula was accepted at the University of Utah, and although her dream was to become an architect, she quickly realized that this would be difficult because of her struggle with the English language. She majored in mathematics and graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Utah. While attending college, she also worked in the university’s accounting office After graduation, Rula moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she attended Cleveland State University and received a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics. While at Cleveland State, she tutored math students, worked full time in the Controller’s Office, and took courses in the evening. A couple of months before graduation, she received a job offer from NASA. Although Rula strived to study math and science, she never imagined in a million years that she could ever be a part of the NASA family. Rula started as a mathematician in the Scientific Services Branch and has worked at NASA Glenn for 24 years. She gained valuable experience because she was fortunate enough to work with a mentor who is not only a great mathematician and scientist who loved his work, but who also is a great human being—Dr. Guptill. With NASA’s support, Rula went back to Cleveland State and obtained a second Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working as a Research Aerospace Engineer in the Materials and Structures Division where she continues to use supercomputers to perform complex simulations, finite element analyses, and optimization of airframe structures and space vehicles. Rula always tries to challenge herself in her work at NASA, seek improvements, and stretch her understanding.