Vietnamese-American Margaret Vo Schaus is now the new Chief Financial Officer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as confirmed by the agency earlier this month.
Margaret, a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, was sworn in by Administrator Bill Nelson at the NASA Headquarters in Washington on August 4.
“I am honored to be sworn in by Administrator Bill Nelson, and I am grateful to President Biden for the opportunity to oversee NASA’s budget and help carry out the agency’s groundbreaking missions,” Margaret said in a post by NASA.
“The budget is more than just financial management – it is crucial to supporting the world’s most talented workforce and maintaining mission support. I will uphold the agency’s values in our efforts to create educational opportunities, combat climate change, build back better, and venture out farther into the cosmos than ever before.
As a first-generation Vietnamese American, Margaret also expressed her gratitude for her parents, who “as Vietnamese refugees, overcame innumerable hurdles so their children could pursue the American dream.”
“I wouldn’t be here today without their sacrifices.”
Margaret was born in Michigan and raised in Southern California. She received her bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society, as well as English, from Stanford University, where she also got her master’s in management science and engineering.
The White House nominated Margaret for the position in late April; she was voted by the Senate on July 30, rounding out the agency’s senior leadership positions.
With Margaret as its CFO, NASA will advance its goals and missions from concept to reality, especially now that the agency is preparing to land the first woman on the Moon under the Artemis program.
“As an accomplished career civil servant with experience across many federal agencies, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to NASA. I am excited to welcome Margaret to the team,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.”
Nelson, meanwhile, highlighted Margaret’s ability to lead and manage operations, saying she will be integral to determining the future missions of the agency and helping carry out next-generation Earth science.
Before working for NASA, Margaret held numerous leadership positions for financial management and business operations of various science and engineering organizations at the US departments of Energy and Defense.
She most recently served as the director for business operations in the Office of the Under Secretary of Research and Engineering at the Department of Defense, where she was responsible for oversight of a multibillion-dollar budget, reads a report from NASA.
She has been recognized with awards including the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of Energy’s Distinguished Career Service Award, and the Secretary of Energy’s Honor Award.