Finding Strength and Value in Teamwork

by Marketing Services - Cedarville, OH

“A career is really a learning experience that builds on your educational background. My Cedarville education gave me the foundation I would need to learn my job.” That’s how Stacie Bennett Cox ’00 explains how she got where she is today. She says God has allowed her to reach her goals and has provided her opportunities of which she could only dream.

Today Stacie is a subsystem manager at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Simply speaking, Stacie is using her engineering and math education to do some pretty amazing things and is playing with high-tech toys that many children dream about.

Currently Stacie is working on the Remote Interface Unit (RIU) for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), which, she says, is the vehicle which will take us back to the moon. In explaining what the RIU is, she said, “The RIU receives commands from the flight computers and sends them to sensors and actuators throughout the vehicle. Data collected from sensors and actuators also go through the RIU before being sent to the flight computers.”

Prior to working on the RIU project, Stacie worked on the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) project for the shuttle program at NASA. The OBSS is currently used during every shuttle mission to inspect the vehicle for damage. The data from the system is used to determine whether or not it is safe to fly the shuttle home.

The CEV is in the very beginning stages of its life cycle, so for now Stacie participates in meetings with the contractor and is the main point of contact on the NASA side for the RIU. “Since it is in the beginning stages of the design, I am involved in discussing requirements, architecture, and implementation,” she said.

Although her job may sound very complicated, Stacie says her experience at Cedarville thoroughly prepared her for it. “In addition to technical knowledge, my time at Cedarville taught me how to work together with others on a project team,” she noted. “I was involved in the IEEE Summit Challenge competition, as well as class design teams and senior design.”

Stacie says when working on a project team, everyone must participate and pull their own weight in order to be successful. Each team member also has to be willing to help out the others when they are struggling. “Never let yourself become so important that you aren’t willing to get your hands dirty to get the job done,” she said. “It’s also important to pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each team member when making team assignments.” While at NASA, Stacie has worked on various projects with different products, but she says the principles of participating on a team are the same.

That commitment to team effort now has a personal meaning for Stacie. In September, 2004, she married and, in her own words, “became an instant mom of two great kids.” Stacie and her husband, Gary, are now expecting a baby in July.