NASA: A New Mission Era Inspires a Culture of Innovation

March 28 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Mayser Gymnasium

  • Elizabeth Kolmstetter and Nick Skytland

Elizabeth Kolmstetter
Ph.D. Director of Talent Strategy and Engagement, Office of Human Capital Management, NASA, Washington DC    

Nick Skytland
Talent and Technology Strategist, NASA, Johnson Space Flight Center, Houston, Texas

With NASA celebrating its 60th Anniversary on October 1, 2018, it has certainly achieved iconic status as the premier Space Exploration and Aeronautics Agency in the world. In six decades, the agency has not only put astronauts on the moon, but fundamentally changed how we look at the Earth and the cosmos, pushed the limits of technology and continued to improve aircraft and aviation. As NASA looks forward to such milestones as the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Space Launch System, Return to the Moon, and the Journey to Mars, it is also fundamentally having to redefine how it accomplishes its mission in the new world of work, such as how to balance innovation and risk, how to manage four generations in the workplace, how to use technology to engage the public in its work, and how to now partner with the private sector, such as SpaceX and Blue Origins, in the gowing space economy.  Dr. Kolmstetter and Mr. Skytland recently completed a cutting edge Future of Work study and will share interesting insights and exciting examples of new programs that encourage innovation, new technologies that enable virtual collaboration and virtual work, and new career programs to enhance employee experiences at NASA.

Dr. Kolmstetter is one of the highest ranking Industrial and Organizational Psychologists in the Federal Government and is recognized for her groundbreaking work in Human Capital and Talent Management throughout her career spanning over 25 years across agencies including the FBI, CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Transportation Security Administration, US Agency for International Development, and now NASA. She is the Director of Talent Strategy and Engagement at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC and has broad responsibility for plans and programs ranging from workforce planning and hiring to career development and employee engagement for NASA employees ranging from accountants to astronauts.  

Mr. Skytland works at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, TX and is currently leading the future of work talent strategy which includes how data and technology are transforming how work gets done. He will draw from his experiences ranging from working directly with our Astronauts, founding the International Space Apps Challenge - NASA’s global hackathon - to running our innovation space “1958” at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. He has presented to the United Nations, the White House, Department of Defense, Army Sciences Board, Disney Imagineering, SxSW Interactive, NASA Advisory Committee, and Public Services Summit at the Nobel Prize Ceremony, as well as given four TEDx talks on exploration and discovery.

This event was proposed by Nicole Kolmstetter '21 and Mary Ann Levine.