Monika Karin Schultz (born August 15, 1967 in Pasadena, Texas) is an American engineer and manager in coaching and development at Intertek in the Houston, Texas area. She formerly worked for the United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor. She considers Nassau Bay, Texas her hometown. In April 2005, Schultz served as an aquanaut on the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 8 (NEEMO 8) crew.
Education and career
Schultz graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 1990. She earned a Master's Certificate in Project Management (MCPM) from the University of Houston–Clear Lake in 2011.
After receiving her engineering degree, Schultz thought she would find work in the Texas Medical Center since her primary interest was biomedical engineering, but then decided that she did not want to spend a great deal of time commuting from her suburban home into Houston, and investigated employment with NASA and aerospace companies instead. From 1990 to 1998, Schultz worked for Rockwell Space Operations Company providing engineering support to the Astronaut Office on Space Shuttle payloads. In 1998, Monika accepted a position with Spacehab, Inc. to provide science mission management for their Spacehab module mission on the Space Shuttle.
From 1999 to 2010, Schultz returned to work for United Space Alliance (formerly Rockwell) and the Astronaut Office. She created and managed the Astronaut Expeditionary Training Project, which prepared potential International Space Station astronauts for the unique personal and interpersonal aspects of long duration space flight. Schultz worked with many different people to arrange classroom training, backpacking courses in summer and winter, and NEEMO missions for astronauts. In August 2001, the crew of STS-107, who were killed the following year in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, took part in an expeditionary training exercise in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Schultz was quoted at the time as saying that interpersonal skills became more important as space flights became longer, saying, "Over time, the little things that didn't bug you before now become more apparent."
From 2009 to 2010, Schultz served as International Space Station Crew Support Lead.In April 2005, Schultz became an aquanaut through her participation in the joint NASA-NOAA, NEEMO 8 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) project, an exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world's only undersea research laboratory. Schultz and her crewmates lived and worked underwater for three days. Schultz commented in a blog entry during NEEMO 8, "It was an awesome feeling to stand in the wetporch when we first came in and realize that I would be staying here for a while rather than just dropping in for a quick visit." Schultz was a member of the topside support teams for multiple NEEMO missions.Schultz worked as a Test Safety Officer for Anadarko Industries in 2011, performing risk evaluations of spacecraft systems. In November 2011, she began working as a manager for Intertek, a global inspection, product testing and certification company, leading the development of coaching products and services offered to Intertek's clients.
Schultz is married to Sven Eric Schultz and they have one son. She enjoys biking, hiking, sailing, diving, reading, and zymurgy. Schultz is a certified PADI Rescue Diver and has made over 100 open water dives. She is a former emergency medical technician with the Nassau Bay Volunteer Fire Department.