"I Can See Myself in STEM" Ambassador Profile - Dana Bolles

Dana Bolles

ISS Payload Logistics Lead
NASA, Moffett Field, CA


Personal statement:

Hi, I’m Dana Bolles and I began my career with NASA in 1995. I’ve worked in various areas, from engineering in regulatory compliance to strategic communications. Most recently, I’ve been working at HQ, helping the agency best communicate our efforts in the Search for Life. Definitely one of my favorite jobs!Working for NASA has been amazing, not only for the jobs I’ve held, but also for the incredible opportunities I’ve had...from being invited to speak in Italy at the 48th International Astronautical Congress to participating in a summer studies program with the International Space University. There were many times along my path to NASA when having that dream job seemed unreachable, but with hard work and determination, I achieved my goal...to work for America’s space agency.

Biography:

Dana Bolles began working for NASA in 1995. The first 13 years of her career were as engineer in regulatory compliance, from payload safety to environmental protection, and she worked at 3 centers: Kennedy Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Ames Research Center. Her most recent opportunity, communicating NASA’s exploration of life beyond Earth, added another center under her belt, NASA Headquarters. Dana’s diverse work experience has given her a great appreciation not only for the programs/projects side of NASA, but also for the mission support functions.

In addition to her official duties, Dana volunteers for employee resource groups for women, people with disabilities, and LGBT communities. She is a firm believer of the value of diversity and is committed to raising awareness, especially of the unique challenges people with disabilities face in their daily lives. She also has a passion for outreach, encouraging youth, especially girls, to excel and be their best in life.

Dana has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and lives with her partner Shelly and their cats in San Francisco.

Segment Pitches:

In 1975, a teacher asks her students “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Dana’s reply “An astronaut.”

How exciting to work in space, where she would no longer be disabled. Having been born with no legs, Dana rides an electric wheelchair to be independent.

Dana grew up in a loving supportive family. Her mom taught her there were no limits to her abilities and she pushed her to excel. She also taught Dana to ignore the people who would tease her and treat her poorly.

During her education, Dana focused on engineering. She thought, “if I can’t find useful equipment to help me with activities, I can design it as an engineer.” Was it coincidence that she was hired by NASA? She is a firm believer that there are no coincidences in life.

At the age of 39, Dana found her biological father. She found he owns a company that builds spacecraft models. NASA is one of his biggest customers. Coincidence?! Just more proof that there are no coincidences in life!


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