School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 by

Dan Carpenter currently serves as the director of public affairs for the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. His career has been a blend of operational experience complemented by constant education and training.

He began his public affairs and communications experience as a first lieutenant in 1981, having previously served as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer at Camp Pendleton, California.  Following that initial public affairs assignment, he subsequently served as director of three Marine Corps public affairs offices – each of increasing size and scope of responsibility. While in the Marines, Dan deployed to 14 countries and to four oceans, as well as to Desert Shield/Storm.

He joined NASA’s Johnson Space Center—home to the Astronauts and the Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs—in July of 2000 as its director of public affairs; a position he held when the Space Shuttle Columbia crashed February 1, 2003.

At NASA Dan led, directed or coordinated tasks that included: live-TV broadcast, taped TV production, media relations for 1,700 accredited media, employee communication, public mail, guest and VIP operations, and outreach to the East Texas communities affected by the Columbia accident.  His office and its performance during the aftermath of the accident and the accident investigation (February 1-August 25, 2003) were recognized with:  a NASA Group Achievement award, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement’s 2004 Space Communicator Award, and a Silver Excalibur award from the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Additionally, Dan was named the PR Professional of the year by PRSA-Houston.

Dan left NASA in 2006 to join Lam Research Corporation, a semiconductor equipment manufacturing company in Silicon Valley, as its director of corporate communications. He departed after 13 months to return to Texas in order to help his parents build a retirement house.  Completing his objective, he returned to California as director of public affairs at the Defense Language Institute and the Presidio of Monterey in September 2008 where he served until September 2014.

Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Radio and Television Broadcasting; a Bachelor of Science degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Management; and Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  He has certificates from the Public Affairs Officer course at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana; the Joint Public Affairs Officer course at Fort Meade, Maryland; and a graduate certificate in communications theory from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.