Second Coolest Job in the World

Whether you’re a space buff or simply tracking the latest news, you’ve likely recently heard of America’s space endeavors. From research taking place on the International Space Station, to a future return to the Moon, to commercialization of space closer to home, there’s plenty to highlight — and there’s a good chance a Baylor graduate helped bring that information to the public.

Baylor graduates are well-represented in NASA communications. No fewer than six Baylor graduates play a part in sharing news and information from space.

“Getting to work with storytellers for the commercial crew program and for the International Space Station — honestly, it’s the second-coolest job in the world,” says Dylan Mathis, BA ’94, MA ’96, integration manager for operational programs in the External Relations Office at Johnson Space Center. “We work with astronauts to tell their story and communicate to the world all they do to benefit us on Earth through scientific research and exploration.”

In his role, Mathis works with at least five other Baylor graduates who apply the communications expertise they learned in Waco to telling the story of the U.S. space program:

Brandi Dean, BA ’03 — deputy manager for communications and public affairs, Johnson Space Center

James Hartsfield, BA ’85 — manager of communications and public affairs, Johnson Space Center

Mitch Youts, BA ’96 — media producer and special projects, Johnson Space Center

Glen Peterson, BA ’94 — ISS mission television operations supervisor for MORI Associates, a NASA contractor (overseeing the team responsible for routing and archiving all imagery received from the ISS)

Debbie Sharp, BA ’87, MA ’88 — communications manager with Barrios Technology, a NASA contractor (coordinating strategic communications about the Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts back to the Moon)

With so many Bears about, there’s a distinct green-and-gold hue within NASA’s demanding communications efforts that blend science, technology, exploration and a little bit of that childhood wonder that comes from space.

“Honestly, even as a person who has devoted his life to describing things, I have to say it is an indescribable career to work at NASA and at the Johnson Space Center,” Hartsfield says. “It can include literally the highest highs and the deepest tragedies. I’ve worked with many of the most brilliant — and nicest — people in the universe. Their goal is to push technology to the limit every day so that they can expand human experience, capability and achievement. There is no better content and inspiration for a storyteller.”