Sharon Conover, lecturer in the University of Houston College of Technology, recently received the prestigious NASA Exceptional Service Medal. The Medal is awarded for sustained performance that embodies multiple contributions to NASA projects, programs, and initiatives.
Conover teaches graduate courses in the technology project management (TPM) program, leveraging her extensive experience to prepare student for key project management roles in government and industry. "My vision is to breathe life into the fundamentals of advanced project management and procurement practices, and reinforce the importance of timely delivery, best value product or service to the customer while maintaining the public's trust and fulfilling public policy objectives", Conover said. Her students learn by actively participating in the acquisition process, working together as a team to define requirements, writing request for proposals (RFPs) and making informed decisions about best value acquisitions.
Conover's career began with McDonnell Douglas Corporation where she worked on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. She joined NASA as a federal employee as a crew trainer on the first orbital spaceflight of the space shuttle program before moving on to become a front room payloads flight controller until the 12th space shuttle mission of the Columbia orbiter. Conover later joined the International Space Station (ISS) program office as payloads integration and operations manager. She has held increasingly responsible positions, including managing the commercialization and spaceflight partnership, and the vehicle management integration and budget offices, senior program analyst to the NASA headquarters chief financial officer, and as manager in the research integration office.
Recently appointed the ISS program lead for the "Revolutionize ISS for Science and Exploration Initiative", Conover is responsible for leading the transition of the culture and processes from "assembly" to "science discovery/commercialization" mode. Her primary focus will be on the transition of key processes used in supporting customers' use of the ISS.
Conover earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Louisiana State University and a Master of Science in Engineering Systems Management from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. She has served as an adjunct professor at George Washington University, Washington, D.C and the University of Houston-Clear Lake
Having won award for exceptional service for the second time, Conover reflected on her experience. "I am humbled and honored to have the privilege and honor to work at NASA and with the greatest team on Earth. It is exciting to be involved with discovery of the origin of the universe and paving the way to deeper exploration of Mars and the promises of future human habitation".