Carroll Alumna Reaches for the Stars
Throughout her life, Amanda Greene has had starry-eyed dreams—so much so that she now works for NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland, lending her expertise to such amazing projects as the James Webb Space Telescope, a major scientific endeavor designed to look beyond the horizons of distant worlds and answer tantalizing mysteries about the origins of our universe.
Amanda laid a solid foundation for her future career by starting her college career at Carroll Community College.
A 2013 graduate of Carroll’s Education program with a focus on STEM, Amanda presently manages the analytical lab for contamination control at Goddard Space Flight Center. “I am technically considered a Level 4 Contamination Control Engineer,” she said. “I’m a contamination control chemical analyst under the ETIS III contract at NASA Goddard. I work for both the project side and the facility side of our Integration and Technology Complex.”
We are very proud of Amanda. It is success stories of our students like her who make me speechless and humbled by our impact. Amanda is not just inspiration to our students but truly inspires me as well.
Blasting Off at Carroll
Amanda initially chose Carroll as the launchpad for her higher education path because it offered small class sizes and a wide range of class times.
“I absolutely loved my time at Carroll Community College. I was very scared that I was not going to be able to balance being a single mother while working and going to school full time. But Carroll provided a place where I felt encouraged and seen.”Amanda Greene
“At the time, I was a young, single mother and the idea of going to a large university seemed very overwhelming to me,” she said. “I absolutely loved my time at Carroll Community College. I was very scared that I was not going to be able to balance being a single mother while working and going to school full time. But Carroll provided a place where I felt encouraged and seen.”
During her two years at Carroll, Amanda gained confidence in herself and in her ability to take on challenging coursework. She was also involved in the STEM Club and enjoyed volunteering at the STEM summer program where she shared her passion for science with the youth.
After graduating from Carroll, she transferred to Towson University where she changed her major from Education to Chemistry. There she earned two Bachelors of Science, one in Chemistry and the other in Forensic Chemistry.
Pursuing a Stellar Career
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After a few years of working as a teacher, a colleague brought to Amanda’s attention the job opportunity with NASA. She applied and, after a lengthy interview process that included meetings with several different directors and managers on the ETIS III contract, she landed the job. Since then, Amanda has been promoted twice, now overseeing the same lab in which she had been an entry-level engineer.
“I provide certified cleanliness levels for space hardware,” Amanda said is one of her primary duties. She also tests and vets out new materials that will be entering the cleanrooms so that they do not pose a contamination threat.
Important Role in Webb Space Telescope
“Even though I came in at the tail end of the James Webb Space Telescope campaign, I still played an important role in getting the telescope into space,” Amanda said. She tested and certified all purge lines, including relief valves, threaded lines, PFA lines, check lines and various mass flow meters, in order to ensure that the Webb would stay contamination-free during launch. (The telescope was launched Dec. 25, 2021.)
“It’s a process that I have founded at NASA,” Amanda said. “This testing did not exist before. We are still in the process of developing this system but hope to have the new lab up and running in the next year or so.”
Her lab also stayed in communication with the team in French Guiana where the Webb was launched to address any last-minute contamination concerns. “I remember that the Ariane 5 rocket had stickers on the side that the launch team was unsure of the chemical composition and whether those would pose a risk to the telescope,” Amanda recalled. “We were sent samples overnight, assessed them, and reported our findings to their team. We had a lot of these rush analyses to complete.”
From Aspiring to Inspiring
“We are very proud of Amanda,” said Dr. Raza Khan, Chair of Carroll’s Science Division. “It is success stories of our students like her who make me speechless and humbled by our impact. Amanda is not just inspiration to our students but truly inspires me as well.”
“We provide a tremendous support network in a very welcoming environment. Amanda is an amazing example of what students can do when they embrace their love of learning.”Dr. Rosalie Mince
“At Carroll, we encourage every student to reach for the stars to achieve their personal goals and consider new possibilities for themselves,” said Dr. Rosalie Mince, Provost of Carroll Community College. “We provide a tremendous support network in a very welcoming environment. Amanda is an amazing example of what students can do when they embrace their love of learning.”
“I would not be where I am today without my time at Carroll Community College,” Amanda proclaimed. “I came into Carroll scared to fail, with no confidence, not knowing how I was going to get my life together so that I could provide a better life for my son. I left Carroll as a confident, successful young woman ready to take on the world… and I did!”