Maureen Madden

When Maureen Madden ’86 (Physics) was four-and-a-half years old, her mom sat her down on the floor in front of the big television and together, they watched the Apollo 11 moon landing. “I remember my mom telling me that this was history being made as we watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon. I loved science from that point on,” said Maureen. “Lewis offered me a scholarship and under the late Sr. Noel Dreska, OSF and Dr. Leonard Weisenthal, my love for science only grew.”

Maureen earned a B.S. in Physics from Lewis University and a master’s degree in applied physics from Northern Illinois University. During the 24 years she has been at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Maureen has used her knowledge and skills in a variety of career opportunities to enhance knowledge about the universe – as well as the community in which she lives. After having a difficult time finding a job in physics upon graduation during a job recession in 1986, Maureen put out hundreds of resumes and researched companies to find out who was hiring any job associated with physics. A friend had landed a job at NASA and encouraged Maureen to find a position there. Maureen obtained an interview with a Physicist who had just lost his lab manager and thus began her first position at NASA.

“I’ve done a little of everything in the time I’ve been at NASA,” says Maureen. “I started off working on high energy astrophysics particle detectors, then moved over to optics and lasers. I’ve also worked on a spacecraft that studied ice in the polar regions,” says Maureen. “I served as Deputy Mission Operations Manager for the Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft and was part of the team building a ground system that captures data from satellites. Basically, we launch a new satellite and coordinate all the readiness activities that enable the spacecraft to talk to the ground system, and ground system to transport data to scientists and weather systems personnel for interpretation. I recently accepted a new position as Deputy Director for the Office of Satellite Ground Services at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).”

One of her proudest achievements was fighting for a better public school education for students as the founder and CEO of Save Our Schools, Inc., so that students may go to college someday and find their dream job just as she did.

“When you go through college you have this tunnel vision of what you can do with your degree and are really focused on that degree for the first few years after school,” she said. “Then you have experience and connections and new paths, and all of a sudden the whole world opens up. Basically the sky is the limit and you can do so many different things. Keep an open mind, and never stop learning.”

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