Dorothy Brown readily acknowledges that she loves a challenge. The fact that she is continuing to build on a two-decade career of work at Stennis Space Center is clear evidence of her determination to overcome.
Twenty years ago, Brown was married and newly arrived to the Mississippi Gulf Coast area, looking for a place to work. She was quickly told by some that there was no need to inquire about positions at Stennis because it was impossible to get hired at the site.
Predictably, Brown set her sights on landing a job at the center. Surprisingly, soon after she filled out an application at a staffing agency, she received a call about a temporary assignment in the NASA Human Capital Division at Stennis.
Not only did Brown accept the assignment, but she has continued to work at the site. She currently serves as an accountant in accounts receivable within the Financial Management Division of the NASA Shared Serves Center located at Stennis.
In addition to her work at NASA Shared Services Center, Brown serves as the Special Emphasis Program manager for African Americans at Stennis. Special Emphasis Programs were established more than 40 years ago to focus attention on groups that have been historically absent or underrepresented in specific occupational categories or grade levels in the federal workplace. Several managers work at the NASA Shared Services Center and Stennis to highlight affected groups.
Brown is “elated and honored” to have been chosen for the Special Emphasis Program manager role. In this role, she provides advice and assistance to management officials to help them meet equal employment opportunity goals.
“The best thing about working at Stennis is that NASA is highly committed to promoting diversity and equal employment opportunities,” emphasized Brown, a native of Rockford, Illinois, and resident of Carriere, Mississippi. “NASA’s greatest strength is its workforce, and it encourages a culture of respect, creativity, equal opportunity, inclusiveness, trust, open communication and empowerment. It is not hard to understand why NASA is annually rated as one of the top 10 federal government places to work.”
Brown initially worked as a data processing support analyst in the E Test Complex at Stennis, helping to facilitate test operations. She also served for a time as calibration manager for the complex. Among other responsibilities during her time of service to E Test Complex operations, Brown worked to ensure testing schedules and milestones were met, helped process and analyze test data and made sure calibration equipment was in place and in working order for the complex.
Brown’s current position focuses on financial management for activities across all NASA centers. She regularly supports the accounts payable team and contributes to daily accounting operations. “My position allows me to interact with fellow NASA employees from other centers who do extraordinary work,” she said. “Working for NASA is incredible.”
Brown is delighted about the role Stennis Space Center is playing in testing engines for NASA’s Artemis Program to send humans to the Moon by 2024, and the role the NASA Shared Services Center plays in support of the Artemis program through providing financial management procurement and human resources support. “The fact that I will be able to say I contributed to NASA’s program in which lunar astronauts returned to the lunar surface is extremely exciting,” she said. “Our American astronauts, including the very first woman and next man, will step foot where no human being has ever been – the Moon’s South Pole.”
Outside of NASA, Brown’s greatest joy is her family; she and husband Craig have two children and one grandchild. She also enjoys her work with the young people in her church. Among other things, she reminds youth to hold their expectations high, dream big and reach for the Moon as they may land amongst the stars.
The counsel from brown comes as no surprise. It tracks well with her own story, as well as a Harriet Tubman quote she shares – “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.”
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