Environmental Factor, January 2005, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Debra Goodnight Retires
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.