Hubble Senior Resource Analyst Taliha Brock

Taliha Brock

Resource Analyst

Taliha Brock spends her days studying numbers. But unlike the astronomical numbers many of her colleagues analyze, she pores over the numbers that determine just how Hubble Space Telescope research gets done: the dollar amounts that make it possible for scientists and researchers to work with Hubble and produce the science that makes the telescope so important.

Taliha is part of the team of financial experts responsible for planning and carrying out the budget for the Hubble research grant program and the Space Telescope Science Institute, where much of Hubble’s science research happens. Taliha joined the Hubble mission in 2015.

Plotting out a financial path for Hubble science is exciting, Taliha said. It requires skill with numbers and the ability to think strategically. “The planning is important in our field,” she said. “To do that, we analyze what we need to do — not only for one year but five years ahead. It’s a challenge and it’s not a very routine job. Every time something is different.”

Taliha was born in Ayvalik, Turkey, and raised in the capital city of Ankara. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Ankara University and received her association of accounting technicians, similar to a master’s degree, in the United Kingdom. She was a budget analyst for 14 years in Turkey, working as a civilian with the US Air Force, before moving to the United States after her marriage.

She began working with NASA in 2005 as a grants administrator, reporting to NASA's Regional Finance Office. In 2009, she joined NASA’s Exploration and Space Communication Projects Division, working on budgets as a resource analyst. She also worked as a cost analyst, evaluating the price estimates that companies offer to perform work for NASA.

Her path to working with budgets was more direct than most, she said. That’s because in Turkey, students are given tests similar to an SAT, and those tests determine their future career. “It’s not the choice of the person. I disagree with that. Kids may end up being something they didn’t want to be, but they don’t have a choice,” she said. “I tell kids that there are other kids out there that can’t choose what they want to be, so use your opportunity in a beneficial way. They have choices here and should take advantage of that.”

She would have chosen to become a lawyer, she said, but she was fortunate enough to be happy to work with numbers as well. “I like what I’m doing — I’m good with the numbers,” she said. “We never know what the road is ahead of us. I didn’t have any clue I would meet my husband and end up living here in America and end up working for NASA.”

Taliha has family and friends around the world, and working for Hubble has been a connection that unites them, she said. Friends in England, Holland and Germany all follow Hubble on social media, she said. She saw a Hubble picture in her cousin’s son’s fourth grade classroom in Turkey, and when she mentioned it, he showed her how he liked to look up Hubble pictures on the internet. “Can you believe this? Hubble publicity reaches every corner of the Earth. It makes me proud to work for something so well known.

Taliha resides in Crofton, Maryland, with her husband and mother, and has two sons. She enjoys walking, arts and crafts, and spending time with her family.