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Success Story

Bryan Grant, BSM '06, alternated his studies with employment at NASA's Johnson Space Center before earning a permanent job there.
Bryan Grant, BSM '06, alternated his studies with employment at NASA's Johnson Space Center before earning a permanent job there.

Student Success Story: Bryan Grant

Bryan Grant, BSM '06, recently launched his career at NASA, landing a permanent position at Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, thanks to his participation in Georgia Tech's Cooperative Education Program.

"I can't imagine where I'd be right now if I hadn't done it," says Grant of the program, which enabled him to spend four semesters working in a full-time paid position at NASA in alternation with studies on campus. Unsure of what business field he wanted to pursue when he won the coveted spot at NASA, he appreciated the opportunity to rotate through different functional areas at the Space Center.

After a tour of duty in the CFO's office cooled his enthusiasm for accounting, he found his niche in the Human Resources Management Branch, where he now works as a specialist. "Up until that point, human resources wasn't a career path I'd considered," says Grant, who discovered he enjoys interacting with a variety of people on a daily basis. "I was entrusted with a lot of sensitive work. They gave me a lot of significant assignments."

Supporting the International Space Station Program Office, Missions Operations Directorate, and Engineering Directorate, Grant quickly proved his worth, winning NASA's JSC's Distinguished Co-op Award and Superior Accomplishment Award. He credits his Georgia Tech Management education with helping him succeed. "I always get a lot of compliments on my analytical ability to solve problems," Grant says, noting that being immersed in the highly technical environment of Georgia Tech was a great help. "Many of my friends are in engineering, so when I got to NASA, I knew the language. I could talk the talk, and I was interested in it as well."

The excitement filling the Space Center fueled his desire to return there after graduation to begin his career. "It's one of the few places you go where the majority of folks are totally dedicated to the mission," he says. "Everybody who's there really wants to be there and is enthusiastic about the part they play. It's an exciting time to be in Houston."

With the next-generation Crew Exploration Vehicle set to replace the Space Shuttle after its retirement in 2010, a major human-resources challenge is the gradual destaffing of the Space Shuttle program, Grant says. "How do you keep hiring people into a program that isn't going to be there?," he asks. "How do you guarantee job security and make sure that the last Space Shuttle flight is as safe as the first one?"

Grant, an Atlanta native, plans to work for NASA for several years, then possibly earn his MBA. He might eventually transition into operations management, a field that began to spark his interest during his last year of school.

By enrolling at Tech, Grant and his twin sister, Kathryn, who graduated in 2005 with a bachelor's in international affairs, continued a family tradition. Their grandfather, Emory, graduated from Tech's business school, and their father, Jim, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering here. "I would do lunch every week with my dad and granddad and talk about Tech," says Grant, whose great uncle and cousins are also alumni. "It's a whole family affair."

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Susan Ambrosetti
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