Stilson is a NASA flow director within the Shuttle Processing Office of the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate at John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla. She acquired management responsibility for integrating, scheduling and conducting space shuttle Discovery's processing operations in December 2000. Discovery's current mission, STS-133, is Stilson's 11th as leader of Discovery's ground processing team. Born in Athens, Ga., Stilson graduated from Cape Coral High School in Cape Coral, Fla. She received Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., as well as a Master of Science in engineering management and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
Stilson joined NASA in 1989 as a cooperative education student. In 1995, Stilson began full-time NASA employment in the Payload Flight Operations Directorate as an electrical networks engineer supporting the Spacelab program. From 1997 to 1999, Stilson served as an experiment engineer, generating and executing procedures to check out Spacelab experiments. In 1999, Stilson worked as a test engineer for the International Space Station Electrical Power and Distribution System, and then advanced to the position of test director for the ISS Multi-Element Integration Testing. As test director, Stilson provided leadership, direction and oversight to planning, technical procedure development, operational implementation and management of the integrated test team. In 2006, Stilson was selected to participate in a six-month rotational assignment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she served as technical assistant to the Space Shuttle Program manager. Stilson has received numerous honors including multiple "On the Spot" Awards, Group Achievement Awards, a Certificate of Commendation, the 2005 Center Director's Award, and NASA's Outstanding Leadership Metal.