Why space? Need help in deciding what to do?
Learn from those currently working in the sector why they chose to work in the space industry and get practical advice.
|| Dan Durda || Organization
|| Southwest Research Institute
|| Job Title
|| Principal Scientist
|| Boulder, CO
As the Principal Investigator for a number of NASA- (and occasionally NSF-) funded research grants I formulate the research project goals and objectives, manage the conduct of the project (which for me also usually includes working with several Co-Investigators), and lead the writing of resulting publications and conference abstracts. |
B.S. Astronomy (with distinction), University of Michigan |
M.S. Astronomy, University of Florida
Ph.D. Astronomy, University of Florida
| Career Path
I decided early on on an academic path in astronomical research. I worked directly through undergraduate and graduate school, proceeding to several years of post-doctoral work before being hired at Southwest Research Institute where I have worked since 1998.
I was always, from my very earliest childhood memories, interested in science in general, and in space/astronomical topics specifically. By early high school I had already firmly decided on an academic path toward a PhD in Astronomy. During my graduate studies I came in more direct contact with the Space Shuttle program and many astronauts and decided that my skills and interests might be well-matched to working as an astronaut as well. I interviewed as a finalist for the NASA 2004 astronaut class and today am one of three suborbital payload specialists at the company I work for.
||Words of Wisdom
Be tenacious and creative. Hone your 'people' and communication skills - be a good team member and value the inputs and advice from those you work with. If you don't already, learn to like to write proposals to raise the funds to do the work you want to do.
Back to page to access more profiles