From NASA to Nonprofits

Barbara on location in Amman, Jordan

Barbara was the crazy kid who spent her childhood playing astronaut in converted refrigerator boxes in her backyard. These “space missions” consisted largely of reading comic books, eating space food sticks and drinking Tang.

The occasional meteor shower, aka her brothers tossing rocks at the refrigerator box, didn’t dissuade this intrepid imaginary explorer.

As her “space missions” grew more elaborate, Barbara would enlist her friends to play Mission Control. They’d sit at their own converted refrigerator boxes with computer consoles drawn on them.

Barbara and Mission Control kept in touch via walkie-talkies, never mind the fact that they could have just yelled across the yard and been heard just fine.

Missions lasted as long as the potato chips and sodas held out, or until everyone had to go home for dinner.

An early interest in filmmaking and storytelling

Barbara is the daughter of a career Kodak man. He was the one who taught her how to load and use a movie camera. And as luck would have it, her dad’s job as a chemical engineer secured him free film and processing for life!

With an endless supply of film at hand, Barbara would write little scripts, and then gather all of her friends together to make movies. These movies covered such weighty topics as the life and times of Rasputin, Russian spies in San Francisco, a rehash of the Wizard of Oz, and a bicycle safety film.

Sometime during high school, Barbara discovered she could actually get a degree in filmmaking. Eventually she landed a coveted spot at USC in their School of Cinema/Television.

Admittedly, Barbara loved the film program and the faculty and students she worked with, but she never developed an affinity for Los Angeles.

After graduation, she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and forged a career in corporate video production. This is where she got hands-on experience in all aspects video production.

As she worked for various high tech companies, she also honed her skills as a scriptwriter and storyteller. It didn’t take her long to become an award-winning writer and producer.

Eventually, Barbara did end up working at NASA Ames Research Center, landing a job with their video group. Working with the in-house video crew, she made videos about Space Shuttle Payloads, flight simulators, the Next Generation Air Space and other really cool high tech things.

Soft at heart

Coupled with her active imagination, Barbara also has a very soft heart. As a young girl, she was banned from the local pound after wandering one day amongst the cages, sobbing uncontrollably because of all the lost and homeless pets.

Not surprisingly, today she lives with her husband and a very old retired Greyhound that was rescued from the track in Tucson, Arizona.

And it’s not unusual for Barbara to slip a few dollars to a local homeless person, or buy them a meal at McDonalds. Or, to help out in other quiet ways which will hopefully make a difference in someone’s life.

Putting it all together

Barbara currently works as a freelance writer and videographer specializing in copywriting and video productions for the nonprofit niche.

Barbara says, “it’s been a wonderful mix for me. I get to learn about the work a nonprofit is doing, and then tell those stories in ways that compel donors to give them more money. Which in turn lets that nonprofit continue their great work!”

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