Nagin graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering and a BA in Psychology and was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force. As a lieutenant, she was stationed at Wright‐Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and worked as a systems engineer in F‐16 aircrew training. She later attended the Air Force Institute of Technology where she received a masters degree in Space Operations Systems Engineering. As a captain, she served as an Orbital Analyst at NORAD/Space Command in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs.
After leaving the Air Force to pursue more civilian space applications, she joined JPL in 1993 and has since served as a systems engineer and manager on multiple interplanetary robotic missions including NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Kepler telescope mission to search for earth‐like planets around other stars. Her roles have included the Deputy Team Chief of the engineering spacecraft flight team for NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Deputy Team Chief of the Spacecraft/Rover Engineering Flight Team on the JPL Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Deputy Project System Engineer on Kepler as well as the Supervisor for the Surface Systems –Systems Engineering Group at JPL. She also led the first phase of the proposal that has since become NASA’s 2016 Mars Mission‐ InSight. She is currently working on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)‐ NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover that landed in August of 2012. On this mission, she has served in the past as the Assistant Flight System Engineering Manager and is now part of the mission operations team operating the rover on Mars. Nagin has spoken to audiences around the US, in Europe, and the Middle East on the stories of the people behind the missions.
In her spare time, Nagin races with her dragonboating team, competes in sprint triathlons and sings with a Sweet Adelines barbershop chorus. She is part of the assistant staff with a women’s self‐defense program and is involved with the Women’s Rights Committee of Human Rights Watch. She also enjoys exploring this planet with her husband.