Gabrielle Lee

Gabrielle Lee

Contracts Administrator


NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA USA


In school, I was so insecure. But understanding that I didn't have to be perfect and live up to crazy expectations from parents and society freed me. Embrace imperfection.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Gabrielle Lee

Highlight
Now Playing
01:10
Gabrielle Lee HighlightInterview Highlight
Now Playing
08:39
InterviewThe Interview
Now Playing
01:35
Day In The Life Of A Contracts Administrator At NASAWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:23
Coming To An Understanding With Your ParentsWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
01:43
It's About Collaboration Not CompetitionWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:15
Finishing Things With Help From OthersWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:31
You Don't Need To Be PerfectWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
01:06
Your College Major Doesn't Define Your Career PathWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
01:42
Feeling Like You're Not Living Up To Your Own ExpectationsInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
01:49
Dealing With Mental Health IssuesInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
03:36
There's No Set Path For Any CareerInterview Excerpt
Milestones

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Had always dreamed of becoming a dancer and even auditioned for The Rockettes.
Attended the University of California, Irvine, where she received her bachelor’s degree in dance choreography with a minor in English.
Admits that in college, she took on way too much and, as a result, struggled with mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and OCD.
After suffering numerous injuries and dealing with exhaustion, she decided to give up dancing professionally.
Got married when she was 20 years old—her parents were initially unsupportive.
Decided to go to graduate school at Eastern Washington University, where she received her master’s degree in creative writing.
When she graduated, she found it difficult to find a job with a living wage in that field—she’s since worked as a teacher, an editor, a publisher, and a speech and writing coach.
Now works as a contracts administrator for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she manages a portfolio of projects and acts as an advocate for technical personnel when it comes to paperwork.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Dance, General
University of California-Irvine
undergrad
Bachelor
English Language and Literature, General
University of California-Irvine
graduate
Graduate
Creative Writing
Eastern Washington University
Career

Career

Contracts Administrator

I'm an agent for technical people; I'm their advocate, guiding them through contracts bureaucracy.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Writing
Writing
Business
Business
Learning / Being Challenged
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

Every day is different, but it's a balance between document preparation, research on various space technologies, and mitigating client expectations. It's a lot of balancing several projects in various states of completion at one time, so essentially we're talking about project management. Something that I take upon myself to do (because I'm Type-A sometimes) is constantly think about how I can make my job easier and also save taxpayers money at the same time.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS. This cannot be stated enough. Learning how to make people feel like you're on their side is everything, and learning how to negotiate with people is key. Also, the ability to think outside the box and continually think about how to re-organize things to make them better is highly valued in any industry. Learn Lean Six Sigma.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Do something. Do anything. In my experience, where you are doesn't matter as much as what you do with it. My cashiering experience at Wahoo's Fish Tacos at UCI directly led to my next job, which led to my next job, which led to my next job, and so on. None of those experiences were unimportant, even though the jobs weren't really related to one another. Treating the job like an opportunity and building something within it--even something small--can go a long way.

Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"It can't be done. You're never going to convince everyone to change."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues
Mental Health Issues
Got Married Young