Thursday, January 27, 2005
OU alumna helps NASA build team atmosphere
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
OU alumna Heidi Thibodeau, CAS ‘97, said her OU education provided her with the foundation she needed to land her dream job with NASA.
Thibodeau is a contractor for the One NASA team, a group charged with bringing the entire NASA agency together. Rather than operating as 10 individual NASA centers, One NASA is trying to create a team-like atmosphere, bridging the gaps between centers and better utilizing skills and talents.
One of Thibodeau’s tasks has been working with the Peer Award Program, which is the first of its kind at NASA. Previously, all awards were given only within each of the centers and to only civil servants and the contractors as separate groups.
“It’s been a bit of a culture change for the folks here at NASA,” Thibodeau said of the Peer Award Program.
Under the new program, civil servants and contractors can nominate each other and nominations can reach across center lines. This helps NASA reward collaborative behaviors, something they are striving for.
Thibodeau also has been involved in the monitoring and analyzing of information posted to an employee message board. After the questions or comments are posted, they are addressed in some way; some are even addressed on NASA-TV, a government television channel providing news and information about NASA to employees and the public.
Thibodeau, who obtained her degree in psychology from OU, said her undergraduate education provided a solid foundation for her to continue her studies and perform her job at NASA.
“The undergraduate degree in psychology provides a really good background for a number of fields,” Thibodeau said, adding that psychology involves a lot of analyzing and research, a skill that is used in a lot of areas.
Thibodeau received her master’s degree in organizational behavior, organizational development and a master's in business administration from Bowling Green State University. After she completed an internship at NASA working in leadership training during the summer of 2000, she kept in touch with her contacts and eventually was able to land her current position.
“The job was a good fit for me to bring psychology into the work place,” Thibodeau said.