Friday, March 31, 2006


p.s. Business School

p.s. One more thing... I got into Business School, so will be moving to Boston in July (yay!) The downside is that I will be leaving beautiful sunny Southern California, my friends, and this job I love. But sometimes you have to take an opportunity when it presents itself. More about b-school and the application process next week!


Ok, seriously, I can't believe it's Friday, again!

So one of the crazy things about having a job that you love is that the weeks FLY BY. I seriously feel like it's always Friday, which, depending on the way you look at it, may not be such a bad thing. (I'm actually going skiing today, with a bunch of Michigan friends, which is very exciting.)

So, I suppose now is the perfect time to tell you about this job that I love so much. But first, a little background: in January 2004, President Bush announced a new Vision for Space Exploration (VSE), which would send humans to the moon and ultimately on to Mars. In response to the VSE, Northrop Grumman Space Systems teamed with Boeing in a competition to design and develop the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). The CEV is slated for launch early next decade, after retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010.

I am a systems engineer by trade, but I also moonlight in Business Devleopment. My job is cool for a number of reasons, but mostly because there is something new to learn everyday! No one knows what the correct answer is, so we're all helping to come up with a design that meets NASA's performance objectives, within budget, and on schedule.

The last year has provided some amazing learning opportunities. I have worked on two major proposals (which is sort of like writing a 40-page paper the day before it's due),lead an integrated modeling development effort, managed one of three technical deliverables, created an internal investment strategy, and prepared an advertising pitch. I work with a great group of folks, including an astronaut who has flown three missions aboard the space shuttle.

Oh oh. I have to run to a meeting, so more later. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Wisdom from the IPOD guy

So before I tell you what I've been up to this week (which includes a trip to Vegas (fun times), conversations with an astronaut (who is so cool!), and some serious nerves (I get my b-school decision tomorrow)), I wanted to share with you a speech that Steve Jobs gave at the Stanford Commencement last summer. His thoughts are funny, profound, and relevant to anyone who is trying to figure out what the heck to do with his or her life... Check this out.

Here are some of the highlights:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that all the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

"Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Ooo.. this is good. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Manhattan Beach Pier

Just wanted to post one of my favorite pics of the Manhattan Beach Pier. One of the things that makes Southern California so great is access to the ocean. But even if you're not into the water, LA has something for everyone (although thanks to urban sprawl, it may take just a little longer to find). By the way, if you are planning on moving here, you absolutely need a car. Whereas, New York and Chicago spread up, LA spread out; in fact, today LA County, home to 10 Million people, covers 4000 square miles!


California Love

Hello Ann Arbor from Sunny Southern California. I'm Uma, a 2001 Michigan grad, and I'm here to tell you a little bit about life in Los Angeles, well, my life, anyway, which by all accounts bears little resemblance to the lives of more well know Los Angelenos, e.g. Snoop Dogg...

Anyway, digressing... I suppose I should start by telling you a bit about myself... I'm originally from Grand Blanc, MI, spent 4.5 fabulous years in Ann Arbor (majoring in Spanish and Aerospace engineering, while covering sports for The Daily and WCBN radio). Upon graduation I moved to Vail, Co (spending quality time as a ski bum), before finally ending up in Manhattan Beach, thanks to my great employer, Northrop Grumman. Today I work on the Crew Exploration Vehicle program, which is ... awesome. I will tell you more about the CEV in future posts, but for now, if you are curious, visit

I also ran the Michigan Alumni Club here in Los Angeles ( for a couple of years, which is why I know random fun facts like there are 8,492 Michigan alumni in LA County (last count). Trust me, it's crazy, if you end up here, you will see Michigan people everywhere! In fact, on football Saturday, hundreds of us get together at 9 a.m. in Santa Monica to watch the latest escapades of Lloyd Carr and co. It's a lot of fun (well, except for last season), and a great way to connect.

Anyway, over the next few months, I'll catch you up on the fun things to do here in Cali, tell you a little bit about my life, and maybe inspire you to want to trade in your snow boots for flip flops and some sun, sand, and surf!

Go Blue!

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