The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) recently welcomed a new meeting coordinator, Cynthia Parra. Prior to joining LPI, Cynthia worked at NASA Johnson Space Center on the Artemis mission management team, where she worked on meeting management, collection of data from flight simulations and testing, and coordination of the Artemis Flight Integration Working Group. She also has leadership experience in public health and higher education.
Read LPI’s interview with Cynthia Parra to learn more.
LPI: What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
CP: Learning. I love to learn. Listening and learning about the advances in the space and aeronautics industry is exciting to me. I have the heart of a researcher and I love the opportunity to be a part of sharing space science in this role.
What’s the best part of your job so far?
CP: Being a small part of the advancement of space and aeronautic innovation and history. When explaining the meetings team’s function, I say we support dreams. Each scientist, engineer, and researcher has dreams that they have made their life’s work. They are the dreamers that allow their imagination to roam free in the scientific world. We give them an organized platform to bring forward data and findings that supports their dreams, which collectively will be the foundation of groundbreaking advancements and history.
Every year for Christmas, Cynthia and her family have a theme. Pictured is her family during their Baby Yoda Christmas. Left to right: Chaz, Gabbie, Cynthia, and Jonathan.
As part of the Artemis Mission Manager’s Team, Cynthia had the opportunity to visit the rocket during stacking and Wet Dress Rehearsal.
LPI: What are you looking forward to bringing to your role here from your past experiences?
CP: I have professional experience working at Johnson Space Center on the mission management team for the Artemis mission, as well as several years in higher education. The combination of working on a historical mission and in academia has given a unique skill set and perspective that I can apply to my role as a meeting coordinator.
LPI: Did you have a mentor or another person in your life who was influential to your career?
CP: I have a few mentors. My beloved mother and father encouraged me to be a lifelong learner and a hard worker. Retired Higher Education Administrator Vernice Monroe taught me to seize opportunities fearlessly, that timing is everything, to be diplomatic, to have a positive attitude, to be solution-oriented, and to show appreciation to those around me for their individual talents and contributions.
LPI: What do you like most about working in meetings?
CP: I like that the meetings team supports each other’s success.
LPI: Which USRA value do you most identify with and why? (Passion, Partnerships, and Professionalism)
CP: All USRA’s core values resonate with me — Passion, Partnerships, and Professionalism.
I have a passion for learning. Coming from a higher education background, I am keenly aware of how important it is for the education sector to guide students into science, technology, engineering, and math/medical. I believe that those working in STEM disciplines will lead the way in finding the answers to the world’s most pressing problems.
We are better together. Collaboration is a concerted effort at USRA.
The USRA team members are professionals in their individual areas of expertise, and there is mutual respect for each other’s talents.
Cynthia took this photo during one of her evening bike rides in Galveston.
LPI: What kind of hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?
CP: I live in Galveston, and I ride my cruiser bike on the seawall most evenings. I love being in nature. When I have the opportunity and time, I go hiking. Trekking around in nature recharges my batteries. I am also an amateur photographer. I take nature pictures when I am on my outdoor adventures. I also read every day.
Participating as a spectator in the visual and performing arts (i.e., music performances, art, theater, cinema, and dance) is a favorite pastime. I enjoy dancing and listening to live music. I am also a bit of a sports fanatic. I keep up with most sports. You can find me at Houston Astros, Texans, and Rockets games on a regular basis.