Nilufar Ramji earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Carleton and now works as a strategic communications and public affairs specialist at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. But as a student, a career in the space sector wasn’t even on her radar.
“I thought I’d go to law school or do a Master of Public Administration. I never thought I’d work at NASA,” says Ramji.
Ramji did a few work placements through the Federal Student Work Experience program, and after graduating, was hired by Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC), an international development organization with Canadian headquarters in Ottawa. AKFC’s programming tackles the root causes of poverty and inequality—and Ramji thought she’d be contributing to this side of its work.
But she ended up joining their public affairs team and working to inform Canadians about the importance of getting involved in international development. It was there that she started developing the skill set she now uses at NASA.
“We shared the story of how Canadians are impacting international development. What we get back, and how we can be good neighbours,” she says.
“That was pivotal for me. I really enjoyed thinking outside the box and being creative. It took my career in a different direction.”
Ramji moved to Houston for a different position, but after a few years, she was offered a job as a contractor at NASA. A large portion of the space agency’s workers are contractors, and Ramji initially worked for a company that supports NASA’s communications, outreach and multimedia.
“NASA is an agency that literally takes you out of this world, it has helped me achieve my career aspirations. I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” says Ramji, who became a permanent employee earlier this year.
“Everyone is excited to be there. One of the best parts of working on such a large team is the opportunity to learn so many different things—mission commentary, video production, writing, strategic planning and integration. I’ve been lucky to get my feet wet in almost every area of communications.”
This is part of a story Carleton Alumni Soar Into Out of This World Tech Careers