Alumni Corner: Suzy Thompson Maddock

Suzy Thompson Maddock

YSU STEM believes that all of its students are able to go the distance. While many may not have gone on to study the great beyond like Suzy Thompson Maddock, we know that they will make it!

Mrs. Maddock, a Boardman, Ohio native, graduated from YSU in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy and a minor in Mathematics. She left YSU to succeed in many different ways, including in her current career.

Mrs. Maddock has worked for various NASA branches for the last ten years. She has worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in in California, but more recently, she has been working at the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia. At NASA Langley, Mrs. Maddock works as a systems engineer on two different projects: CERES, the Clouds and the Earths Radiant Energy System, and TEMPO, the Tropospheric Emissions: Pollution Monitoring Satellite. She has very different roles in both of these instrument projects.

“I have been working the CERES project since 2008, where as a systems engineer, I was expected to understand the instrument in its entirety,” Mrs. Maddock said, “[I] work as a liaison between the science team and engineering teams.” She continued to say, “For TEMPO, I am the Interface Working Group lead working with the instrument builder (Ball Aerospace [BATC] in Boulder CO).” Mrs. Maddock also takes care of all of the environmental requirements and all contact between the host spacecraft and BATC.

Suzy Thompson Maddock

Mrs. Maddock enjoys her work, but physics and astronomy was not always easy for her. With a lot of hard work, she came to realize that she enjoyed working through complex problems and principles. YSU STEM is one of the reasons she believes that she has the best skill set for her work at NASA.

“My professors were very quirky, but extremely knowledgeable,” she said. “Because the physics and astronomy department had such a small number of students, I graduated with only four, I was able to get individualized attention.”

While she was at YSU, Mrs. Maddock was involved with many on-campus, as well as off-campus, activities. She was an athlete, a member of the marching band, a member of Alpha Xi Delta, and was a member of the astronomy and physics clubs. Internships were also very important to her. Mrs. Maddock participated in a great internship program at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). While there, she worked with people who studied the surface of Mars and its geological properties. She also worked hard to get her master’s degree at the University of Kansas, where her professor was known for his work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“I was able to explore JSC, with behind the scenes access to the astronaut training center, Mission Control, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and countless other “geeky” space experiences,” Mrs. Maddock said.

Mrs. Maddock also enjoys crossfit training, Olympic lifting, and staying active. She has many honors and awards for her excellent performance at NASA. She has also published quite a few articles during her career so far. Two of her greatest accomplishments, though, are her two young boys, but they aren’t her only accomplishments. She, her husband, who is her biggest supporter, and her boys, will soon be welcoming a new addition! Congratulations from all of us at YSU STEM!


Publications from 2012-2013:

CERES-FM6-SIM-01-005, “Preliminary CERES FM6 Simulators Verification and Validation Document,” May, 2013

CERES-FM6-SIM-01-003, “CERES FM6 Simulators Requirements Document,” May, 2013

RBI-FM1-SER-001, “Radiation Budget Instrument Standard Scene Spectra Data,” March 2013

CERES-FM5-SYS-004A-F, “CERES FM5 Performance Trend Report,” September 2010-February 2012

CERES-FM5-SYS-011, “CERES FM5 Post Launch Report,” January 2012.