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Debra Goodnight Retires

By NIEHS
January 2005

*****
Debra Goodnight revels in memories of NIEHS as well as the scent of the yellow roses, which were one of the farewell gifts offered. Goodnight retires this month after 34 years of federal service.

Debra Goodnight, still known by many as Debra Parrish, lead NIEHS into the computer age way back when.

As word processors replaced typewriters, Goodnight was there to reassure the skittish, and for the skeptics, to demonstrate the usefulness of then-emerging technology.

Goodnight clearly recalls the early days of computers - big ol' IBM 1401s, with neither operating systems nor hard drives, and six big reels of tape. Programming entailed stacks of cards.

“I stand before you an antique computer,” Goodnight, said to the well-wishers at her retirement party. She has given 34 years to federal service. As she looked back over those years, Goodnight said it has always been a challenge, but a rewarding one that created friendships and memories.

“My work here made me feel that I was a part of something important,” Goodnight said.



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