Why space? Need help in deciding what to do?
Learn from those currently working in the sector why they chose to work in the space industry and get practical advice.
|| Jason Townsend || Organization
|| Job Title
|| Deputy Social Media Manager
|| Washington, DC
I currently am the Deputy Social Media Manager for NASA where I help oversee and coordinate more than 490 social media accounts covering NASA�s people, missions, and programs across 12 different platforms. I routinely coordinate between internal social media users and NASA�s external community of fans and followers to tell NASA�s story using tools such as the agency�s flagship Twitter account, @NASA, Instagram account, and pages on Facebook and Google+. I also provide guidance to agency leadership on social media best practices, policy, and upcoming social media activities. Additionally, I am responsible for planning and executing successful NASA Socials (formerly Tweetups) events that take online engagement with fans and followers to the next level through behind-the-scenes, in-person experiences at NASA.
B.A. Political Science, University of Colorado at Boulder
|| Career Path
I have over 15 years of professional and freelance experience communicating online, starting as a freelance web designer for small local businesses and student organizations at colleges and universities in 1999. I begun full-time summer employment as an intern at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where I worked on building web pages and engaged in other activities for their public affairs office. That internship grew to include year-around employment part-time while continuing to go to school and continued full-time during school breaks for the remainder of my undergraduate years. Upon graduation, NASA was not hiring in my field, so I took a job working on technology projects for a grant program from the U.S. Department of Education. I served as coordinator of a network of websites and web applications for special education teachers around the country. At the end of the existing grant, I moved to a job at a think tank here in Washington to serve as their webmaster, where I provided oversight and general management of their website, including the successful transition of their site into their first content management system. Next, I returned to NASA where I was a contractor at NASA Headquarters working as an editor and producer for the Webby Award-winning NASA.gov website. During my time working on the website, I was also involved in supporting the growing presence NASA had on social media. After a few years in this role, I had an opportunity to take a civil service position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as their webmaster. At NOAA, I specialized in the creation, development and operations of online communications for NOAA.gov and NOAA�s social media accounts. And that leads me to my current job at NASA, where I serve as the Deputy Social Media Manager overseeing and coordinating NASA's expansive social media footprint across multiple platforms and accounts that represent NASA's work pioneering the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.
I was obsessed with science fiction, Star Trek in particular, as a kid. It still captures my imagination to this day. And I have come to realize that deep down, everyone has some sort of childlike wonderment in them like that. For many, it's the moments where they look at the stars in the night sky and wonder what's out there. Being able to help keep that sense of wonderment alive by sharing the story of what is really out there and how it is being explored is just an incredible opportunity that makes me excited to go to work each day. I've left jobs at NASA twice and returned back twice. Each time, I realize this is what I want to do with my life. I want to share space with the world and engage humanity about the world around them, while telling the story of incredible discoveries and technical triumphs that allow us to be a species of explorers.
||Words of Wisdom
One of the biggest pieces of advice I give students all the time is to work an internship opportunity while they are in school. It is essential at building experience that can be essential in landing your first full-time job out of school. My internship at NASA Goddard was invaluable at building a network of contacts and a body of experience that continues to propel me throughout my career.
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