Alumni Spotlight: Wendy Bateman, '93, Attorney at NASA
Published on Jan 10, 2020
Meet Wendy Bateman, a contracts and procurement attorney at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and an Auburn graduate. A self-described "Army brat," Bateman says that she moved around a lot throughout her youth, but ultimately considers Huntsville, Alabama home because that was where she finished high school.
"When we were moving to Alabama, my dad was telling us that we're going to have to choose a side. We're going to have to pick between rooting for Alabama football, or Auburn football," Bateman recalled. "I hate to admit it, but at the time, Alabama was doing really well at football, and so I decided to be an Alabama fan." Bateman jokes that she has a hard time saying that out loud now, as an Auburn graduate.
Bateman is in good company at NASA working as an attorney. One of her colleagues is Dawn Oliver, and they both have received the prestigious "NASA Attorney of the Year" awards. Bateman received the award in 2014, and Oliver received it in 2016.
Bateman graduated in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in English literature – a major that her family was none too pleased about. "I was fascinated with physical therapy and thought that was what I really wanted to do. So, I chose Auburn because I fell in love with the campus and the people, as well as the idea of PT school at Auburn."
After a couple of semesters, Bateman realized she did not enjoy PT as much as she thought she would. She began to focus on the subject that made her happiest.
"I talked to my parents and told them that my heart has always been with reading and writing and English literature, and that's what I wanted to study.”
Bateman assured them that this was the right major for her, and her grades and spirits went up immediately.
"I was doing something I really loved and enjoyed."
With a renewed outlook on her collegiate experience, Bateman broadened her horizons and began to choose other classes that piqued her interest.
"As I was pursuing my liberal arts degree, other classes would come into play, and one of them was constitutional law. I just picked it on a whim to see what it was about. And that one Con. Law. class is why I'm sitting here today."
Bateman said that taking the constitutional law class made her realize that there was another way to put her love of reading and writing to use.
"I still get to do what I love, but now I'm reading cases, or I'm writing a brief. I still enjoy English literature; it's just on a much broader scale."
Hear more about Bateman's Auburn experience in our video interview, below.