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Top 50 Women in Technology

Written in the stars After serving as Chief Information Officer at NASA until April this year, Linda Cureton tells Lynne Nolan about her tenure as part of a mission that touches the hearts and souls of every human on this planet.

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fter retiring April this year after almost 34 years of federal service and having served as Chief Information Officer at NASA for three and a half years, Linda Cureton is now at the helm as CEO of her own “sizzling start-up,” Muse Technologies. Linda Cureton reflects on the tenure, enthusing that “It was my vision to make the NASA IT program the very best in government.” “As an aside, internally, our goal was to be the best in the universe – after all, we were NASA. I believe that this IT organization has indeed been able to make this claim. The IT program is known as forward-leaning and innovative. Moreover, the program is known is one that gets hard things done,” Cureton comments. “I enjoyed being part of a mission that touches the hearts and souls of every human on this planet. While it was great watching the last mighty Space Shuttle launch, it was even better feeling the ground shake, feeling the heat, hearing the sonic boom, and feeling the power that lifted brave souls to low Earth orbit,” she says.

IT transformation On her move to helm her own company Muse Technologies, she says that “after just a short 110 | Silicon Valley Global

period of time, I have to say I absolutely love it. It’s scary, risky, and exciting. Muse specialized in IT transformation – this is what I have been doing for decades. I am eager to continue to provide this much-needed service to other organizations.” Cureton studied a BS in Mathematics (Cum Laude) with a minor in Latin at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, where she received an M.S. in Applied Mathematics, in addition to a post-Masters Advanced Certificate in Applied Mathematics. Although Cureton was always interested in Mathematics, that was not always the case with technology. While she was at school, Cureton worked as a student assistant cartographer making maps. At that time, people used pen and ink to create nautical charts, while computers were just starting to be experimental. As a lefthander, her hand kept smearing the ink on the charts, so she was punished by being banished to working on the computers, she recalls. In undergraduate, she happily took her required coursework along with her favourite classes in Math, Latin, and Classics, and almost had enough credits to have a double major – a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Classics. “All I needed was one year of ancient Greek. However, it seemed to be too much trouble to this young co-ed. To my dismay, a

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