Singing the praises of STEAM

Suzy Cunningham ’92 earned her master’s in space systems operations and is currently the Strategy & Integration Manager for Communications & Public Engagement at the Kennedy Space Center. She works with NASA, industry, academic, DoD & other state/federal leaders to research community, center & organizational issues and initiatives related to communication and public engagement. She then determines the impact of those functions on KSC and the Agency and collaboratively develops strategic approaches and recommendations that synergize efforts and best utilize resources.

Additionally, she serves as the NASA liaison for efforts including Space Congress, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and Space Walk of Fame. She’s a member of the National Space Club, Women in Aerospace (WIA), and an Associate Fellow for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

What’s your background?

I have B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and an M.S. degree in Space Systems Operations from Florida Tech.

I also have skills in Project and Relationship Management, Strategic Planning, and Integration. These along with my degrees have enabled me to hold a variety of jobs at NASA Kennedy Space Center.

– Special Projects Engineer for the Shuttle Orbiter Thermal Protection & Thermal Control Systems
– Shuttle Upgrades Project Manager
– Acting Deputy, NASA/AF Joint Planning & Customer Service Office
– Sr. Spaceport Manager
– Lead, Business Development
– KSC Strategic Planning Manager
– current

What are three words to describe you?

– Adaptive & Quick learner
– Honest & to the point
– Collaborative

What is something you wish someone told you in high school?

That the business world perceives women differently from men, and you may have to adapt to be successful. I’m thankful for my many workplace mentors that have and continue to guide me, and I now share what I’ve learned as I mentor others.

When you’re not at work, what is your favorite thing to do?

I love to sing. My husband is a musician who runs his own recording studio, Stillwater Studio. I’ve sung on various worship teams at church and other musical endeavors and have been honored to sing the National Anthem for past Space Shuttle launches, as well as current space-related launches, ceremonies and events.

Are you involved with getting young minds excited about STEM, if so, what programs are you involved with?

Oh yes, I love inspiring the next generation! I talked to my high school’s engineering classes when I went home to St. Louis to be inducted in our Hall of Fame…I was amazed at what they’re being taught…there were no engineering/robotic classes when I was in high school

I judge at science fairs, again amazed by some of the students’ projects!

I support STEM and STEAM (A stands for “Art”) efforts, including the Challenger Center, Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Organization, and even Astro Abbey’s “Mars Generation”

I encourage everyone I know to do something you love. If it’s your passion, you’ll give it your all and will enjoy it!

I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to work for NASA and be able to use all my talents (engineering, relational, singing) to facilitate and continue the exploration of space.

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