Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Why Me?" - Meet Sarah, one busy grad student...

This week I would like to introduce you to another good friend of mine. I am actually on my way to see her and so I thought I should introduce her right here. Sarah will host me for a few days at E. Michigan University and then join me travels to Florida to watch Discovery's STS-133 launch on November 1, 2010. Without further delay - here she is... Sarah Smith! 

When you are not enjoying Social Media, what do you do as a profession?
When not enjoying Social Media I am a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University studying for a MS in Geographical Information Systems. I'm also a graduate assistant and teach 3 labs this semester; Earth Science of Elementary Educators and Dynamic Earth System Labs. Lastly I am actively involved in the school's Astronomy Club and GeoClub when I have time! I do eventually intended to get my PhD as well, just somewhere it doesn't snow!

What has made space exploration such an interesting subject for you?
I've always been interested in space since I was young but what really hammered it home is, and this may be a sad note for some, I can remember sitting in my room watching TV on Feb 1st anticipating a shuttle landing which never came. I can remember thinking to myself all the questions of why and how and the more I researched the space shuttle and how it works, the more I got interested in space. That summer as a high school graduation present my mom and I went down to FL and I got to see KSC for my first time.

In your opinion what are the 3 most amazing achievements/results of space exploration?
In my opinion 3 of the most amazing achievements of space exploration... well you can't really pick 3 but since this is supposed to be a short intro I will... - All the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle program (you have Hubble, ISS, EVAs, and not to mention, yeah the vehicle is reusable!)- The success of the Mars Rover missions because aiming for mars is no easy task, let alone keeping the rovers working for years on end.- The Apollo Program 

Is there a current mission (or missions) you follow regularly? If so, what mission(s)?
Besides the HSF missions, when I have down time I like to follow the Landsat program, which will be launching a new satellite, LDCM, in the end of 2012! As well as the various Mars Rovers and the upcoming MSL, I got to learn about SAM (Sample Analysis on Mars) during my time at GSFC and it is really going to be a fascinating mission. I also like to keep up to date with SDO and other various missions, to be honest, not for the data but for the stunning photos that get returned!

Why are you friends of this Not-Every-Day-Run-Of-The-Mill rubber chicken?
Well to keep a long story short, Miss Camilla was in FL for the SDO launch which was just so nicely planned right after the STS-130 launch (which I was in FL for) and so I met with the SDO tweetup gang at a local Mexican restaurant in Titusville and there was Camilla. At first I was a bit weirded out because she just sat there... and stared! But then she squawked and it was friendship at first squawk; she was squawking in response to a comment that was just screaming smart alec answer. Ever since then she's been a pretty entertaining chicken! Besides, she also knows like, everyone on the planet and has traveled far more than I!

What is your advice to today's youth?
Two pieces of advice, first, sometimes when someone tells you that you won't succeed or excel at something try not to get to down about it, you'll find sometimes it's that nice flame of motivation that helps you through things, even when things get tough (they are also usually wrong on their advice too!). Lastly, don't panic (over anything, nothing is ever worth it) and as one astronaut told me "do great things" :) 

Blog: Don't have one, thought about it though...

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