Hello again! It’s been a while since I’ve updated this site. Much has happened in the last year. I moved to Hampton, Virginia to pursue a PhD in Planetary Science at Hampton University, in 2014. After a year of graduate school here, I am not returning to the program.
This had been a challenging year, both physically and mentally; I tore my achilles tendon in February, and have been struggling through graduate level atmospheric physics classes. Leaving Hampton is greeted with mixed emotions. While Hampton has some delightful natural areas that I absolutely love, I’ve struggled to find a community that I resonate with here. It will be sad to not be in graduate school, but also a relief in a lot of ways.
The Planetary Science track here at Hampton is primarily an atmospheric physics program with two planetary science classes. My background not in atmospheric physics but rather in Astronomy (with a little Geology) and a strong focus in Astrobiology. Jumping into some of these atmospheric courses was like jumping into arctic waters: a shock at first, a struggle to stay afloat, and a strong desire to exit. Although my classes were tough, I learned … a lot! I rediscovered my love of math and how much I enjoy writing. I also rediscovered my nemesis: timed tests. Despite the struggles (as I’m sure just about everyone struggles through grad school coursework), I ended up with a 3.26 GPA.
With school comes research, and my research at NASA Langley was fantastic and super astrobiological. Working at NASA Langley was probably the highlight of my academic career here. I worked on building a Raman/fluorescence spectrometer from optical components in order to analyze mineralogy in rocks (in the hopes of detecting biosignatures). If that sounded like gibberish to you, you aren’t alone. I will touch on that in another post.
I don’t know my next step in life, but I’m excited for it, whatever it may be.