NASA Engineer Receives Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award
Christina Deoja BS’08 is an electrical engineer at NASA, working on projects that include testing electrical power systems on the Orion spacecraft and Morpheus lander vehicle. She was honored with the 2015 Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award.
UT Dallas alumna Christina Deoja BS’08 has always wanted to work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Long-fascinated with images from space, Deoja told her parents early on she wanted to become an astronaut.
She never made it on to the launch pad, but she’s happily immersed now in her job as a NASA electrical engineer, working on projects that include testing electrical power systems on the Orion spacecraft and Morpheus lander vehicle.
“I love it. It’s fun. The work we do is so cool. On the Morpheus project, we were doing rocket testing on a weekly basis,” Deoja said.
Deoja has been recognized by UT Dallas with the 2015 Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award, whose recipients are accomplished in their industry or profession and engaged in their local community.
As part of her ongoing passion for her work, Deoja mentors high school students in the same weeklong program she attended years ago that solidified her career decision. Held at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the program guides 11th-grade students through a simulated mission to Mars.
“They walk through the process of what it’s like to be an engineer,” Deoja said. “Each group is responsible for a different part of the mission.”
Deoja also serves as a mentor in another NASA program that engages girls in fourth to sixth grades with the STEM fields, and speaks frequently at school Career Days.
As part of her alumni award, Deoja was inducted into the UT Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious honors societies.
Deoja said she chose UT Dallas for the reputation of its engineering programs, and because it was conveniently close to her hometown of Lewisville. Her father is also an alumnus.
“It all added to a good decision,” she said.
In her senior year at UT Dallas, Deoja completed an internship at NASA. She was hired shortly after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in December 2008.
Deoja said her academic experience at UT Dallas helped prepare her technically but also gave her the soft skills she needs to navigate team-based projects in the engineering industry.
“About 75 percent of what I do involves working in a team. My hands-on internship work helped me apply the theoretical information I received in a classroom and taught me to communicate with diverse team members,” she said.
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