Reading Challenge 2016

There is nothing I love more than reading. I have always been a voracious reader, consistently being the top reader throughout my elementary and middle school years. When I got to college, however, my reading for pleasure really dwindled.

Now that I have graduated, Matt and I have both really gotten into reading again. I’ve even centered most of my resolutions this year around reading.

For one, I want to build a Little Free Library. I own tons of books and want to give others the chance to read them or add them to their collection.

Secondly, I have issued reading challenges to myself! I plan on doing the entire shorter list (shown below), and part, if not all, of the longer list as well. To help with this, I’ve also joined Emma Watson’s feminist book club on Goodreads! The first book in that club is “My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem, and I am really enjoying it so far!



Other books I am currently reading include:
“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee
“Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan
“The Martian Race” by Gregory Bedford
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by JK Rowling

Books I am intermittently reading are:
“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
“Dragon’s Egg” by Robert L. Forward
“Skywalking” by Tom Jones
“Moonshot” by Deke Slayton and Alan Shepherd

Thirdly, I want to keep track of all the books I read this year, and which books I don’t finish (and why I didn’t finish them).

What are your reading goals this year? Are you interested in joining me in my reading challenges? Do you have any books that you recommend I read this year? Let me know! Maybe we can start a book exchange!


The Blessings and Curses of Passion

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I love space. 

(If the word love even does it justice). 

The cosmos are my passion. Ever since I was a child, I have loved the stars, the planets, rockets, and anything and everything that is encompassed by space and space exploration. This passion is a vital part of my life. 

I have more space posters and memorabilia than anyone I know. My dorm room/cubical walls are decorated with space collages. I have a decent collection of space trivia and facts stored in my brain, (just in case I am ever on Jeopardy). I also do a lot relating to space, from my internships and projects, to the organizations I am a part of. 

really love space. 

(You get the point)

     (You get the point)

Most people have interesting reactions when they discover my love for space. Whenever I move back to campus and get a new set of roommates, their outward expression to my public display of cosmic love is usually curious but supportive. They, like many others, find it interesting. And more often than not, when people do discover my passion, I hear something along the lines of “It is amazing that you love something so much”, among other things. 

This is one of the blessings of having a passion. Statements like these started in high school with my love for physics. I would absorb physics literature and books with such wonder and excitement, much to the puzzlement (and amusement) of my peers. They always thought it was funny and awesome that I had found something I loved SOOO much, when most of them were still trying to decide on a college major. 

But this trend persisted even through college, when more people have a sense of what it is they want to do with their lives. People were still remarking on my love for space, and I discovered that even though I was in college, a lot of people had yet to discover their passions. This discovery was one that did, and still does, sadden me. I truly wish everyone could find what they love as much as I love space, and be able to incorporate that in some way to their daily lives. My passion for space brings me a lot of happiness, and I know it is something I will always have. It is truly a blessing to have this passion, (especially when it brings about unexpected friends and opportunities). 

But having this passion isn’t always a blessing. Sometimes, it can be a curse. Don’t get me wrong, 99.99% of the time, my passion for space is a blessing. But it can come about to bite me. 

Have you ever loved something so much, it becomes all-consuming? 

Space is an all-consuming passion of mine. It is not to say that I don’t enjoy other things; I love to dance, rock climb, read, and go on adventures and explore the outdoors. But my love for the cosmos affects me in ways that I would have never anticipated. 

An example: my passion for space has evolved into a HUGE love and appreciation for this planet. This makes me very conscious of my everyday decisions and how they can impact the planet. That being said, that also means I am very conscious of what OTHER people do to impact the planet. This constant awareness can be depressing and on occasion, angering. But this can be a post in and of itself.

The biggest way my passion can become harmful is when it absolutely overwhelms me. Because I love space, I have a *slight* problem saying “no” to anything involving space, or just letting other things go. Sometimes, my projects can take over my life in a negative way, to where I am balancing a million precariously balanced china cups, trying very hard not to let any of them break. This can be stressful, and although I usually have a GREAT ability to balance many things and succeed in all, it is very demanding and will usually take a toll in some form or another. 

Overall, my love and passion for space is wonderful, and I wouldn’t want to love it any less. Just like everything else in life though, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Can anybody else relate? Are there blessings and curses to any of your passions?  



Water found on the surface of Mars!

If you haven’t heard the incredible discovery announced today about Mars, stop what you’re doing and read the above article.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered seasonal salt water flow on Mars! Such an incredible discovery! This definitely will change where we explore the red planet and how future research will be conducted on Mars.

Research findings like these are so exciting to me! This is what motivates me to work hard and do what I do.

Live Long and Prosper

4418962-8881961077-SpockMay you rest in peace. And for the rest of us, reflect on what Mr. Nimoy said in his last tweet:


Do you wanna fix a spaceman?

As many of you know, I am the team lead of a group called the Orbital Ospreys that recently flew in zero gravity through NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. This is the program’s last summer, and we were part of the last traditional flight week. It was also the first time we applied for the program, and we were so grateful and lucky to be blessed with the chance to take part in NASA’s greatest education program. 

Below is a video of our experience, which we submitted with our final report. 

It may also remind you of an old favorite video game (for those around 25 or younger).

Throwback Thursday


This picture was from my very first internship at Kennedy Space Center in 2010. These were the other KSC INSPIRE interns and I at the “riveting” KSC BEST bbq. I miss everyone here so much! 

NASA Social!

I just found out today that I got accepted to my first ever NASA Social! I will be going this Monday to Kennedy for the O&C Renaming Ceremony. This NASA social event also centers around the Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary on Sunday, ( #Apollo45 ) and NASA’s big step to Mars (#NextGiantLeap ) and I’ll be sharing all the details with you all on social media!  I am so excited to go and am already talking to my fellow space geeks on Twitter about this! 

Anyways, most of the immediate updates will be shared on the below pages, if you want to tune in! I’ll do one big piece on here afterwards.

And of course, this blog’s Facebook page!

Happy Pi Day!!!!!

Happy Pi Day!!!!!

Celebrate my favorite irrational number today on March 14! And also, happy birthday to the beloved Albert Einstein, born this day in 1979.

Vomit Comet, here we come!


I received the best possible Christmas present today. I found out the the research group I lead has been selected to fly our research experiment on a NASA reduced gravity flight!!!! 

My team applied for NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program through Microgravity University at Johnson Space Center. We worked very hard on our proposal to test an experiment prototype bioreactor for zero-gravity.

Yesterday, I received a phone call saying that our team was in a unique situation and they were going to “wait-list” us, and they would notify us of their final decision soon. Today received the fateful call, notifying me that we had been selected to fly! The excitement was- and still is- unreal. 

You may have heard of reduced gravity flights before through NASA’s Vomit Comet. We will be utilizing one of those! The reduced gravity in the aircraft is created by flying the plane in a parabolic fashion. The plane flies in a pattern like this: 


When the plane is at the top of the parabola, about 30 seconds of zero-gravity is experienced. The centrifugal forces of the the plane “cancel out” gravity. Almost twice the normal amount of gravity is experienced on the bottom and during the incline of the parabola. This parabolic pattern is repeated over and over again. 

I am so excited that my team and I get to be part of such a wonderful experience. This is one of the most exciting things I will ever do, and I am so excited to share my story with all of you! I will be sharing my team’s progress on our mission to fly! 

You can also read more about zero-g flights here:

Reason 5,273,896 that I love XCOR

If you know me, it’s no secret that I love space, and that I love the company XCOR. I met a number of their employees when I was in Colorado, and they are a great bunch of people. (Plus they gave out lots of cool “XCOR swag”.)

Well a little over a month ago, XCOR asked on twitter if anyone wanted a Lego version of their vehicle, the Lynx. I definitely needed one, and they actually sent me one. I was soooo impressed when it actually came in the mail. Even though it was free, they sent the kit in a nice box, wrapped in a “Lynx paw print” bow. Great presentation. They included a hand-written thank you note as well. I really was quite impressed by the care and consideration they took in sending it to me!

Here are some pics of the packaging and finished product: