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Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

Lisa Ziehmann is the Acting Deputy Center Director at NASA Langley Research Center.
NASA/Angelique Herring

Lisa Ziehmann is the Acting Deputy Center Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Ziehmann’s lifelong love of numbers and problem solving led her to graduate from Christopher Newport College, now Christopher Newport University, with a degree in accounting. After spending time in the Mission Support Directorate at NASA’s Headquarters, she found her way back to Langley, where she now helps lead the center on its quest to innovate for the benefit of humanity.

Who or what inspired you to choose your career and why?  

My inspiration for my career path was my parents. They were both public servants; my father served in the Air Force for a number of years, and my mother volunteered for the Red Cross and worked in the public school system. So, I come from parents who were very much dedicated to public service. I feel like that’s been my guide in life.

What do you find most rewarding about working with NASA?  

It’s the people, not just here at NASA Langley, but across the entire agency. We just have the best workforce that I could ever imagine working with. They are so dedicated and passionate about the mission of NASA. It’s a varied mission, so there’s something for everyone. And we don’t hesitate to solve the tough problems, either. We work together. It’s like a family–we all rely on each other’s strengths.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

I like to go on long walks with my dog, garden, and bake—all kinds of baking, but especially cakes and pies! I also like to travel to experience different cultures throughout the United States and around the world. And I enjoy being with family and friends, too. We’re all busy working, so finding the time to connect with family and friends is really important.

How does your background and heritage contribute to your perspective and approach in your role at NASA? 

My grandfather on my mother’s side worked in coal mines, and my grandfather on my dad’s side was a farmer. So, we came from a very humble upbringing. On my dad’s side, they immigrated to the United States when my dad was nine, and they really had to work hard. It’s just that hard work and can-do attitude that I think I experienced growing up and certainly has done me well in my career. I’m a collaborator and a problem solver, and in coal mines and farming, you have to do all that, too, right? You have to be flexible, and I think I learned that organically as I grew up.

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