But not only was she interested in meeting all of us, we were interested in her too. Betsy, we learned, was always interested in crafting since she was born (her words). When she was young, and with various moves with her family in suburban Maryland, her Mom was very "crafty" and instrumental in helping her five children (Betsy being the youngest) in meeting the neighboring children with her arts and crafts. Her Mom taught "painting" and ceramics, and even had a kiln to fire all the clay work done by the neighborhood kids. Betsy also witnessed her Mom sew all her clothes, plus her siblings clothes, and at one point, also became enamored with a needle and thread and a sewing machine. From that time on she has always enjoyed sewing including clothing, wedding dresses and her 'famous' drawstring bags.
Her craft of choice today: puppets. Betsy finds all sorts of things to make them; including socks, tennis balls, toilet paper rolls, and most recently, crafted a puppet out of a life-sized dress form.
Despite all her excellent crafting, Betsy worked for 40 years as a programmer with the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, all as a contractor. She revealed she began working there as a "summer student" (now called intern) after her second year of college (educated at St. Mary's College and E. Tennessee University majoring in math and science). She even met her husband, Ron, in 1963 during her second summer of her internship and married him six months later. They had two girls; Debbi and Margaret and they raised their family in suburban Maryland also.
When Betsy first started at Goddard as data technician, she managed "calculators" as large as a manual typewriters and gathered information on large reeled tapes plotting the data on graph paper for the Radio Astronomy Section. It was tough (everything by hand), but Betsy exclaimed she loved her job from the moment she entered the halls of Goddard. Within the first year, Betsy felt capable to ask her boss if she could learn to program, a move, she recalls, delighted her and her strong math and science skills. She was told to talk to "Steve", and then "Steve" had her working with his programs and she was told to "make changes." Before long she was writing her own programs in FORTRAN and balancing her work and family obligations.
Well before Betsy's retirement in 2013, she began using the advanced computer technology to write soft-ware programs in real time in the Lab of Thermal Vacuum Chambers (testing satellite parts like temperature sensors/pressures/power etc.) for the large telescopes that record the radio waves emitting from the planet and stars (24/hours a day). All this data needs to be retrieved and evaluated.
This blue-loving grandmother of six (five grandsons, and one granddaughter) moved to the middle of Wisconsin (daughter Margaret and her family live in the area) with her husband about five years ago and likes it! It's cold there, of course, and -50 degrees two days ago!
BSolelille! The bright side of Betsy Rector, who had an illustrious career with Goddard as basically a "self-taught" programmer and an excellent sewist and crafter!
Photos of Betsy and her family
|Betsy at the November 2018 Retreat|
|Grandson Seth's wedding|