Back when Daisy Mueller was a graduate student, she
jumped aboard the NASA Cooperative Education Program at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to learn from the
best and brightest NASA had to offer. Today, she’s a full-
time employee — and finds she’s the one doing the teaching.

Mueller’s job gives her the opportunity to educate. As an
industrial engineer, she works hand-in-hand with NASA civil
servant and contractor personnel to coordinate safety and
efficiency for the Space Shuttle program at Kennedy.

Even with her busy schedule, she always makes time for the
students in NASA’s co-op program — still remembering and
appreciating the opportunities it gave her.

The NASA co-op program helps provide a better understanding
of human relations in the workplace and offers practical
experience that relates academic studies to work. NASA
mentors work with students from across the globe to find
summer and semester-long positions that match students’
personalities and educational strengths, while teaching them
some of the day-to-day workings of the space agency.

Mueller works one-on-one with each new crop of co-op
students, whom she considers the future of NASA. That’s
arguably a category Mueller, 30, still falls into, as well.

“You never step away from that co-op environment,” Mueller
says. “Everyone who has been a co-op remembers the experience
of working with their mentors, learning from the things they
taught you — no matter how small.

“Whether it’s how to manage time and take advantage of
opportunities, dealing with a wide variety of people or the
quickest places to go for lunch, I’m sharing things I learned
when I was in their shoes,” she says. “It’s a learning
experience for both mentor and student.”

Mueller, who joined Kennedy Space Center full-time after
finishing her master’s program in industrial engineering in
1999, finds herself passing along the same lessons she was

“Everyone starts in the same spot, so as a mentor and former
co-op, you already know what’s running through their heads,
the hurdles they have to overcome,” she says. “I struggled
with working in such a large organization, so I try to pass
along ideas of how to deal with that so they get the most out
of their experience.”

For Mueller, these lessons go further back than her NASA co-
op days. Her parents, immigrants from Colombia, came to the
United States with nothing in their pockets but the hope of
giving their daughter a great education. It’s lessons like
that one Mueller wants to pass along to her co-ops.

“My parents always taught me to stay motivated,” she says,
“to stay focused on moving forward — not just with my
education, but with other things in my life.

“They helped me learn to value opportunity,” she adds.

Those life lessons have carried over naturally into Mueller’s
career, and now she’s teaching them to the future of NASA.
And that future looks extremely bright.

Media organizations interested in interviewing Daisy Mueller
should contact Tracy Young, Kennedy Space Center Public
Affairs, at: 321/867-9284.