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As an aerospace technologist, Daniel “Keith” Thompson may seem to have his “head in the clouds,” but his feet are firmly planted on the ground.

Keith is an Aerospace Technologist specializing in Technical Management with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island Virginia. Wallops Flight Facility is NASA’s principal facility for the management and implementation of the suborbital research programs. Its mission is to power scientific discovery and technology through unique access to space. Keith says, “We provide unique expertise, facilities, and carriers to enable rapid-response and frequent, low-cost flight opportunities for a diverse customer base.”

Keith serves as a formulation consultant in planning, monitoring, and administering projects of national or international significance characterized by a constantly and sometimes greatly changing physical environment, critical problems, or other variables critical to the development of New Business opportunities for suborbital and orbital scientific missions at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. He provides insight into the development and management of policies, procedures, and operational schedules necessary for new and ongoing New Business processes.

Keith earned his Master of Engineering degree from the University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence in May 2011. “Obtaining my Master of Engineering degree from UMD has benefited my career tremendously,” stated Keith. “Upon completion, I sat for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification and passed on my first attempt. I also was offered many new responsibilities following graduation, specifically in the area of early project planning and formulation.” After a few years, Keith transitioned into his current role with NASA, focusing on new business and early project formulation. Keith says, “I don’t feel that I would have been given this opportunity if I had not obtained my degree from UMD.”

The real-life application of the content in which the courses were taught is the most meaningful aspect of the project management masters program at UMD. I feel that I have used something from every class that I took at some point in my career.

As an undergraduate he earned his Electrical Engineering degree from UMD, so he was very familiar with the university. Keith indicated that “my number one reason for completing the project management program at UMD was that it resided in the engineering school. I felt that the program could still focus on some technical aspects of project management since the students are either engineers or have a technical degree. This was very important to me as I am around scientists and engineers every day.”

Since all of the classes for the masters program are offered to students either in an online or classroom format, Keith felt that the project management program at UMD was extremely flexible. “I could work a full time job and never miss a class, especially with access to the recorded lectures to view at any time,” stated Keith. “The most surprising thing about the program was the availability of the faculty to discuss problems with you; they were very accessible and willing to help their students succeed.”

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Posted by Kathy Frankle on December 5, 2017