I decided I wanted to be an astronaut in 1st grade. The TV program NOVA: To the Moon is still one of my favorite things to watch, and just as inspiring today as it was when I first saw it in second grade. I have always been fascinated by the moon and the stars in the sky, and the eternal question, where did we come from? At some point, my dad got fed up with me asking him questions about astronomy, and gave me his old college textbook from when he took an astronomy class. I was probably about 10, but I started reading it, and then I kept getting upset when it had things wrong (the book was from the early 80s). He told me to find other books and such, so I did. Over the years, starting as a child, I collected books, I subscribed to Astronomy magazine, and I watched documentaries about astronomy and space exploration. I was so excited to come to college and take astronomy and astrophysics classes, so I decided to minor in Astronomy so I could learn more about the physics of our universe.
I also tried to tie my love of astronomy into every school project to learn more as well. In fourth grade, we had to do a report on a famous person; I chose Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut. In sixth grade, we had to pretend to be a Greek god; I chose Apollo. In seventh grade, we had to do a research project on a year; I chose 1969 so I could talk about the first moon landing. In eighth grade, I earned my Girl Scout Silver Award by hosting a booth at the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society’s Astronomy Day, where I demonstrated solar cooking and talked about women astronauts who were once Girl Scouts. In 10th grade, we could paint whatever we wanted for our final painting assignment, so I painted Comet Hyakutake. In eleventh grade, I wrote my term paper on the Space Race. In PWR1 freshman year of college, I wrote my paper about the European Space Agency. I also LOVE visiting observatories!
My love of astronomy is also evient in my stuff and around my room. My computer cursor is a space shuttle, desktop background is a comet, and my mouse pad is from NASA. I sleep under a glow-in-the-dark constellation blanket with a stuffed space shuttle, under a ceiling covered with glow-in-the-dark stars. I have so many space-related posters, from the solar system to the Hubble Deep Space view.