APACT Leadership Series: Nagin Cox & Charlene Ung
Join us for APACT (Asian Pacific Americans at Caltech) Leadership Series featuring Nagin Cox and Charlene Ung
Meeting URL: https://caltech.zoom.us/j/81153729240?pwd=ZFdzMlhQRTBzdEFGL3ZrTjc1ZVUzZz09
Meeting ID: 811 5372 9240
Space Systems Engineer, NASA-JPL
Nagin has been exploring since she decided as a teenager that she wanted to work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was born in Bangalore, India, and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nagin has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight, the Mars Curiosity Rover and now the 2020 Perseverance Rover. She was also involved in the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment) team which is prototyping making oxygen on Mars from the martian atmosphere. She is currently a Tactical Mission Lead on both the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and the Mars Curiosity Rover.
Nagin is honored to be the namesake for Asteroid 14061. She has received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals as well as the Bruce Murray award for outreach. She is a U.S. Department of State's STEM Speaker and has spoken to audiences around the US, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and South Asia on the stories of the people behind the missions. Her lecture "What time is it on Mars?" on the TED Talk website has been viewed more than two million times.
Before her time at JPL, she served in the US Air Force including duty as a Space Operations Officer at NORAD/US Space Command. Nagin holds engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as a psychology degree from Cornell.
She is a past member of Cornell University's President's Council for Cornell Women and has served on the Boards of the Griffith Observatory Foundation and Impact Personal Safety: Self-Defense & Empowerment for Women. She sits on the Advisory Committee for the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch and is part of the Advisory Council for the Planetary Society.
Project Manager (EMIT), NASA-JPL
Charlene Ung is the project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena for the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Investigation (EMIT) project, an imaging spectroscopy instrument launched on SpaceX CRS-25 and installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in July 2022 to map the surface mineralogy of the Earth's arid dust source regions. Charlene has over 30 years of experience leading teams that designed, built and tested key electronic components of aerospace satellites at various companies including Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Hughes, and Rockwell. Charlene received her Electrical Engineering from CSUN before pursuing her Master's in Engineering, Production and Management from Loyola Marymount University.
Charlene is also the author of Nam Moi: A Young Girl's Story of Her Family's Escape from Vietnam, a memoir of her family's experience as "boat people" in the 1970s and coming of age as an immigrant in Southern California. In 2016, she was recognized as Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Ed Chau.