I am a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. I am in the first year of my PhD program. I received my Masters in Geophysics with a focus in planetary science from Western in August 2018. I did my undergraduate schooling at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. I have two Bachelors of Science. One is in Mechanical Engineering and the other is Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
Before Georgia Tech, I spent two years at a Gainesville State College (now the University of North Georgia). At the time, it was a community college close to home. I was able to complete all of my core classes in math, science, social sciences, and literature. When I started at GSC, I wanted to do Aerospace Engineering. I decided a year or so into the program that I would do Mechanical Engineering because it was essentially the same material, but the broader focus made it a better starting option from a career stand point. I could always continue into graduate school to do Aerospace Engineering. When the time came to do that, I knew it wasn’t right for me. I didn’t have the drive to do more engineering.
Graduate school takes motivation, and I found the more focused engineering became, the more dull it was. I hadn’t really loved what I was studying since the starting physics courses and maybe the mechanics courses. The decision to switch to planetary science was somewhat abrupt. I had been working at an HVAC company for a couple years as an intern, and it seemed like a solid place to move forward with my life. It was at Dragon Con in Atlanta where I sat in on a series of panels on space that I decided to go into planetary science. It was listening to scientists like Dr. Trina Ray and others from JPL talking about Cassini that made me realize that my passion for space hadn’t dissipated, and the way for me to use that passion was not through Aerospace but through space science.
I contacted the faculty in Georgia Tech’s earth science department, and ultimately ended up working with Dr. Britney Schmidt and her post doc at the time, Dr. Catherine Walker. There, I did mapping of Helheim Glacier crevasses and later similar features on in the chaos terrain of Europa. I eventually transitioned to Western, where I work with Dr. Catherine Neish. My Master’s project involved updating Titan’s crater population post Cassini. Now, I’m working on a few things for my PhD, the first being trying to model the freezing of impurities in liquid water melt in Titan’s craters.