Press Release

NASA Attorney is Role Model for Young Women

By SpaceRef Editor
May 19, 2004
Filed under ,

As the country reflects on the 50th Anniversary of Brown
v. Board of Education, one NASA employee reflects in a very
personal manner.

Tereasa H. Washington, Director of the Customer and Employee
Relations Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
(MSFC), Huntsville, Ala., and her siblings, were among the
first African-Americans to integrate an all-white school in
Tuscumbia, Ala., in the 1960s.

Washington persevered in an occasionally hostile societal
environment. She earned straight A’s and was awarded full
scholarships to Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, and
Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tenn. She
received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Alabama A&M in
1978. In 1982, she received a doctorate of jurisprudence from

After receiving her law degree, Washington joined the MSFC
Office of Chief Counsel. In 1983, she was appointed general
attorney-advisor, handling legal matters for MSFC
administrative and technical operations. In 1988, she became
Associate Chief Counsel for issues related to personnel and
labor relations. She was appointed MSFC’s Associate Deputy
Chief counsel in 1992.

Washington was the first African-American lawyer to serve on
the MSFC legal staff; the first African-American lawyer in a
NASA field center; and the first African-American woman at
MSFC appointed to the senior executive service

She was named director of the MSFC Customer and Employee
Relations Directorate in 1998. She manages an organization of
more than 250 civil service and contractor employees. She
manages a wide range of programs including human resources,
internal relations and communications, media relations,
government and community relations, employee and
organizational development, and educational programs. The
directorate is also responsible for technology transfer, the
development of space technology for commercial use.

Washington has received numerous awards during her career,
including the 2002 Presidential Rank Distinguished Executive
Award, the highest honor attainable for a civil servant. She
received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2000; the
Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive, 1999; a Senior
Managers in Government award in 1999 from Harvard University
in Cambridge, Mass.; a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in
1992; the Astronaut Corps’ “Silver Snoopy” Award for service
to the Space Shuttle program in 1990; and two MSFC Director’s

She is an alumnus of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, a
program that identifies leaders who have demonstrated the
ability and desire to become more involved in community
leadership positions.

Girls Incorporated, a national nonprofit youth organization,
presented its annual “She Knows Where She’s Going” award to
Washington on March 18, 2004. The group annually recognizes
three outstanding women of achievement in the community whose
lives serve as an inspiration for girls to become confident,
self-sufficient and successful.

Earlier this year, the Alabama state legislature issued a
resolution citing her for an outstanding professional career
and for community service.

Media organizations interested in interviewing Washington
should contact Dom Amatore, MSFC Office of Public Affairs at:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the
Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.