What inspired you to get involved with NASA and outer space?
For me, space is the thing we know the absolute least about, and there’s still so much to learn and develop out there that could significantly alter how we live life on Earth. I want to be part of the effort to discover and form that knowledge and advancement. Finding ways to solve big-picture challenges in space – from mining raw materials and managing space debris to combating climate change – that could affect everyday life is what motivates me.
Who was your role model and/or inspiration?
Being a student of both engineering and classical history, I would cite Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, as an inspiration. As the ‘father of historiography,’ he was, in some sense, one of the earliest researchers, traveling all over the ancient world to record first-hand accounts of peoples and their histories, cultures, etc. That kind of dedication, innovation, and meticulousness parallels what I want to achieve with my own research efforts.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
In the short term, I look forward to developing my expertise in space engineering by pursuing masters and doctoral degrees in the subject at Stanford. In the long term, I’m interested in synthesizing this expertise with my larger appreciation for the legal and business sides of the space industry; this could come via entrepreneurship and the startup world, working to help the general public more fully understand the purpose and achievements of the space industry, or any number of other research/industry/government opportunities.
What is the best piece of advice have you received that has helped you be successful?
Seek out balance and change in your life for the sake of continued growth and learning.
What motivates you?
The fear of unfulfilled potential, or not accomplishing what could’ve been.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy reading literary classics and I love watching movies. I also like to spend time with my dog.
What’s your favorite book or movie at the moment?
My favorite book would be the Odyssey, and my all-time favorite film is The Godfather.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
Are we alone in the Universe? Or do we live in a multiverse?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
My Way, by Frank Sinatra
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
Elon Musk, obviously, because that’s my zone. What he’s managed to accomplish with SpaceX has furthered the industry in a very important way, both in a technical and business sense. I would also say Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, for her global political vision and leadership within Germany and the EU.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
I think one of the most important things for young students is to get involved in a variety of extracurriculars early. That really helped me find what I was best at and most passionate about, and it allowed me to develop skills you typically can’t get in a classroom.