NASA Glenn newsletter editor remembers Ashland as a starting block


Photo courtesy of NASA

Doreen (center) receiving her NASA Honor Award on Sept. 4, 2019. Left to right: NASA Glenn Associate Director Larry SIvic, Deputy Director Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Doreen, Director and Astronaut Dr. Janet Kavandi and Deputy Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Zach Read

The years of 1979 to 1983 contained a lot of change for Ashland College. It was in those years that athletics made the revolutionary move to Division II and former President Dr. Joseph Shultz essentially saved the college from bankruptcy.

It was also during that time that a young Doreen Zudell from Twinsburg, Ohio, attended Ashland College.

While attending Ashland, Zudell was a double major in creative writing and journalism with a minor in religion. She was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and was a reporter and features editor for The Collegian for three years.

Zudell graduated in the class of 1983 and remembers her work for The Collegian, the student newspaper, as the tool which prepared her for the rest of her career.

“The writing in the Collegian gave me a good start and it helped to give me a base,” Zudell said.

Not only did the academics prepare her for her career, but the people she met and friendships she made at Ashland had an impression on her.

“I met a variety of people from different backgrounds and it just opened me up a little more to different types of people,” Zudell said. “I had a lot of respect for the faculty. It was just a really great experience, a maturing experience.”

After graduation, Zudell moved back to Twinsburg to take an editor’s position at her local newspaper, the Bulletin, for two years.

She then moved onto Kenton Publishing where she worked as an associate editor for three different trade magazines over a span of five years from 1985-1990. The three magazines included Power Transmission Design, School Product News and Lodging Hospitality.

Photo courtesy of NASA

“I really loved the whole community thing: meeting people, learning about them and sharing their stories, that’s what has kept me in this field,” Zudell said.

After her time at the trade magazines, she discovered and received a job as the newsletter editor at the NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland.

However, after a few short months Zudell was overwhelmed and did not want to stay in one spot just yet, so she became the communications director for nuns at the religious order of the Sisters of St. Joseph for five years.

It was here where Zudell moved more to the public relations side of things and created a variety of written material including brochures, newsletters, news releases and advertisements in order to raise financial support for the order.

“That gave me an opportunity to expand my writing from trade magazines/newspapers to brochure and development writing, asking for money,” Zudell said.

However, Zudell was on the move again looking for change in her life and it was at that time in 1999 when she reapplied for her position as the newsletter editor at NASA Glenn and was able to get her old job back.

Since that time in October 1999, the rest has been history, where she now continues to work for NASA for the last 20 years and counting.

In this position, Zudell creates NASA Glenn’s monthly, hard-copy newsletter, the AeroSpace Frontiers, entirely by herself. She does everything for the newsletter from planning, interviewing, writing, editing, photography and layout.

“We are always evolving the newsletter because we have different missions and things change,” Zudell said. “I get to meet all these great people that are working (at NASA) and I get to tell their stories.”

During her career, she has had the opportunity to meet the likes of astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and others.

Photo courtesy of NASA
Doreen interviewing Astronaut Doug Wheelock. Wheelock is now working at NASA Glenn.

Among the likes of some of the top scientists and engineers in the world working for NASA, Zudell was recognized above all of them for her continual work on the newsletter. In October, 2019, she received the highest possible honor in NASA as she was awarded the Exceptional Public Service Medal for her “exceptional support, achievement, and leadership.”

“It goes to show you that you can make a difference in the writing field even in a place where you don’t think you can,” Zudell said. “It’s just a great acknowledgement for all of the work I’ve put in.”

Zudell has three children: Drue (22), Danielle (19) and Darcie (16) as well as two grandsons and she resides in Vermillion, Ohio with her husband David.

In her free time, Zudell loves to stay active and exercise as well as support the school and community theatre.

Through all of her different jobs in journalism and communications over the years, Zudell is glad that she still has the opportunity to work in the field she went to college for.

“I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve worked in my field since I’ve graduated, I know a lot of people that don’t always get to do that,” Zudell said. “I think a good journalist can work anywhere, as long as they have the skills. That’s what I’ve been able to do, apply my skills, the skills I gained from Ashland and from working in the field to various industries and types of writing.”