I did most of my studies in the United States. Following high school, I went to the University of Arizona and studied aerospace and chemical engineering as a double major. I have always been fascinated by space exploration, and during my time at Arizona I learned a lot about space systems engineering and planetary science. With the support of my mentors, I decided to pursue a research based masters from the University of Cambridge in Astronomy. My time in Cambridge made me further fall in love with planets and space exploration, so now I'm working at the University of Oxford as PhD student in planetary physics.
I didn't do the O Levels or GCSEs since I grew up in the US education system. I graduated from my local public high school and decided to go to my state university. I earned a double degree in aerospace and chemical engineering from the University of Arizona. I then went on to pursue a research based masters degree from the University of Cambridge funded by the Winston Churchill Foundation of America.
1. College Ambassador for the University of Arizona Career Services. My job was to tell students about the various services and programs that the Career Services Department offers. 2. Systems engineering intern at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center 3. Mechanical engineering intern at MIT Lincoln Laboratory 4. Systems engineering co-op at NASA Glenn Research Center 5. Image Processing Intern for the NASA OSIRIS-REx Mission 6. Research Technician at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
PhD student in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics at the University of Oxford.
I love to explore the world around me in every way possible whether its walking around Oxford, experiencing nature, and of course, through space exploration and science.
I love all things space exploration, to be adventurous, travel, and try new things. I have been trying to learn surfing and skiing. However, both involve me falling a lot. One of “new things” I tried while I was in my first year at university was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is a form of combat martial arts that is centered on ground-based fighting, grappling, and joint submissions. Several years later, I am still training (but not during lockdown), and loving every minute (when I can get it) of it. When I’m not science-ing, at Jiu-Jitsu, or adventuring, I love to watch movies with friends and read fiction novels.
I study planetary atmospheres for both planets in our Solar Systems as well as those beyond our Solar System called exoplanets. My work is focused on modeling the atmospheres of these various planets.
My work focuses on developing a model to understand some of the basic processes that occur in planetary atmospheres. I’m designing my model to be applicable to a variety of planets both in our Solar System but also to rocky exoplanets, planets that orbit other stars.
The main process of planetary atmospheres I model is convection. Convection is when a fluid, like air, moves around to different areas due to density differences. The easiest way to think of convection is by thinking of a pot of boiling water. When the water at the bottom becomes hot, it becomes lighter than the water above it and thus it rises to the surface. These are the bubbles of water we see from the bottom that shoot up to the surface. On the other hand, cold water at the top of the pot is heavier than the hot bubbles coming up and it sinks down to the bottom of the pot. I apply this concept to planetary atmospheres and model the motion of “air” within the atmosphere to be able to determine whether these planets could have atmospheres that are suitable for life as we know it.
My Typical Day: I usually start working around 10:30 am and spend my mornings working on my model and current research tasks. After lunch, I have a couple meetings with team members and then try to focus on reading and learning from other scientists and engineers.
I am not a morning person so I normally wake up around 9:30 am and spend at least an hour eating breakfast. I then try to start working between 10:30 – 11 AM. Working from home has been challenging, so I try to focus on completing tasks that are more active in the mornings, such as working on my code. Around 1 PM, I take a walk and get some lunch to refresh my mind for the rest of my day. My afternoons usually contain at least one meeting with my research group where we dedicate time to learn from each other. I try to spend a couple hours afterwards reading up and learning about all the research and science other people are doing about planets. This takes me to the end of my work day.
What I'd do with the money
I would like the use the prize money to share my passion for space exploration and talk about NASA missions that have shaped our understanding of the Universe and have also made me into the engineer I am today.
I first discovered space exploration on a family holiday to NASA Johnson Space Center. This trip sparked my curiosity about space exploration and all the various NASA and ESA missions that study Earth, our Solar System, and what is beyond our Solar System. When I spend time learning more about these missions, and even working on some of these missions I get overly excited. To me, I’m still the little girl at Johnson Space Center looking at a model of the Curiosity Rover for the first time.
I want to share my excitement and passion for space exploration with everyone. I would like to use the prize money to travel (maybe in the future) to various schools and share my passion for space exploration and talk about various NASA missions that have shaped our understanding of the Universe and have also made me into the scientist I am today.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
silly & space-obsessed
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I don't know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My undergraduate research mentor
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Anything that wasn't a medical doctor
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not usually at school, but I was always in trouble at home
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A rocket propulsion engineer or a pilot
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Camping in Greenland
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be able to travel and spend time with my friends in person, to apparate (like in Harry Potter), and to travel to other planets in the Solar System
Tell us a joke.
A papa tomato, a mama tomato and a baby tomato are taking a long hike. The Baby tomato starts lagging behind so the papa tomato goes back and squishes the baby tomato and says, "catchup!"