My journey at Penn State started back in August of 2013 when I began pursuing an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering. At that point in time, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into or where the adventure would take me. The years between then and now have been an exciting roller coaster ride of adventures, opportunities, successes, and learning experiences. As I worked through my B.S. and M.S. degrees in aerospace, I mixed in internship and study abroad opportunities. One of my favorites was a four-month intensive Russian program in St. Petersburg, Russia, for which I was supported by the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. Now, I am a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow pursuing my Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and am in the NASA Pathways Program for full time employment following the culmination my graduate studies.
As I progressed through my engineering degrees and took advantage of various study abroad and language learning opportunities, I became enthralled by the world around me. I started out by studying Russian and have more recently added Chinese. As my interest in these languages and cultures grew, it only made sense for me to learn more about the workings of the international world around me. I discovered the Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) and knew that it was the right move for me from the very first time that I visited. Currently, I am pursuing the Graduate Certificate in International Affairs through SIA alongside my Ph.D. My hope is to use the knowledge that I gain to contribute to the NASA mission while working alongside our international partners. The SIA program at Penn State has already provided me with numerous opportunities for personal development and has given me another large group of close friends within the Penn State community. I have been a Penn Stater for more than 7 years, and I can easily say that becoming a part of SIA has been one of the best decisions that I have made in my time here.