Skip to page navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. / News / News Archives / Releases / 2024 / April / Readout: OPM Director Kiran Ahuja Visits Houston to Tour NASA Space John Center and Deliver Remarks at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony

News Release

Monday, April 1, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications

Readout: OPM Director Kiran Ahuja Visits Houston to Tour NASA Space John Center and Deliver Remarks at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony  

March 29, 2024 – Last week, in Houston, TX, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja toured the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC); met with dedicated NASA professionals leading monumental advances in science, technology, engineering, and medicine; and engaged with NASA leadership on OPM’s ongoing partnership with the agency to modernize their astronaut application and selection process.   

The tour included meetings and engagements with JSC Director Vanessa Wyche, Deputy Director Steve Koerner, Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) Kelly Elliott, Deputy CHCO Anne Roemer, and NASA Deputy Chief Astronaut Shannon Walker.   
Earlier this month, OPM joined NASA to welcome ten astronaut graduates as its new class of next generation Artemis astronauts.   

  • OPM Director Kiran Ahuja provided a statement to celebrate the newest class of astronauts and kick off the launch selection process for the next class: “By partnering with OPM, NASA employed an automated and streamlined hiring process to screen applicants for these prestigious roles. OPM is thrilled to continue supporting NASA experts to design and implement their hiring methods.”     

In 2020, NASA partnered with OPM to modernize their astronaut application and selection process using OPM’s suite of talent acquisition tools (USAJOBS, USA Staffing, and USA Hire).     

  • NASA received over 12,000 applicants for the astronaut position in the 2020 cycle and OPM helped narrow the applicant pool down to approximately 2,500 top candidates to be forwarded for further evaluation in NASA’s rigorous, multi-step back-end process. NASA ultimately selected 10 astronaut candidates for the original pool of 12,000+ applicants.   
  • The 2020 cycle marked the first time NASA had ever employed a prescreen assessment battery as part of the application process.     

Based on the success of the 2020 cycle, NASA will partner with OPM for the 2024 astronaut selection process.   

Director Ahuja also delivered remarks at a Naturalization Ceremony at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. Ahuja welcomed 1,304 new citizens and presented certificates to members of the military and citizens with disabilities.   

Director Ahuja delivered remarks to 1,304 candidates and their family members. The candidates represented 105 nations, with the largest majority of candidates with national origins from Mexico and Vietnam.  

  • In her remarks, Ahuja shared her story and her parent’s journey to the United States, “I can still hear the pride in their voices when they spoke about coming to America and the opportunities this country opened for them. That gratitude led to a sense of purpose – to be engaged citizens; to always vote, because democracy is a gift that so many around the world live without; and to become meaningful part of the communities that we called home.”  
  • Ahuja encouraged the group of newly naturalized citizens to be empowered by their diverse background and experiences, saying that “now that you’re here, know that you are every bit as important to America as America is to you. You are the future of this country – you will carry on the rich history of a nation made vibrant by the contributions of immigrant communities.”  
  • Ahuja shared a note for those as new citizens looking to serve their communities and make an impact – stating, “there’s no better place to make a difference than the federal government.  We have influence in every sector and every corner of the country. Whatever your dream job is, there’s a version of it with the federal government. And no matter where you live, there are federal opportunities right there in your community.” 
- end -

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

Control Panel