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Science Activation Community Members Share their Science Journeys

Science Activation Community Members Share their Science Journeys

Several members of the NASA Science Activation (SciAct) community have been interviewed as part of the StoryCorps American Geophysical Union (AGU) Narratives. AGU is an international, nonprofit scientific association whose mission is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. Beginning in 2019 – in celebration of its centennial – AGU invites the Earth and space science community to record their personal histories as part of their AGU Narratives. StoryCorps interviews are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and available through the StoryCorps app and online.

These conversations continue to be captured and include SciAct leadership (Kristen Erickson), a scientist visualizing solar system data (Brian Day), a climate scientist working at the forefront of citizen science (Dr. Rusty Low), a NASA Earth science education and outreach leader (Dr. Trena Ferrell), and education and outreach specialists working to connect educators, students, and scientists to NASA Earth science through GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Observer citizen science (Brian Campbell, Peter Falcon, and Dorian Janney). Here are their stories.

Kristen Erickson, NASA, Director for Science Engagement and Partnerships
SciAct Leadership
(Recorded 2019)
"Celestial events are always a winner.”
Ms. Erickson leads NASA’s Science Activation program, a network of community-based life-long learning projects active in all 50 states. Listen to her 2019 interview - one of the inaugural AGU Narratives.

Brian Day, NASA Ames Research Center, Solar System Treks
(Recorded 2019)
"When something changes your understanding, that's why you go into this field."
Brian Day, of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute, leads a group of scientists in visualization and analysis of spacecraft data. Brian co-leads Solar System Treks - online, browser-based portals that allow you to visualize, explore, and analyze the surfaces of other worlds using real data returned from a growing fleet of spacecraft.

Dr. Russanne Low, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Science Lead, GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper, SciAct's NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC)
(Recorded 2020)
"The opportunity to be part of this team to build something was really quite compelling."
Dr. Russanne Low works for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, with much of her work centering on promoting citizen science. Listen to Dr. Low discuss the obstacles she's had to overcome, how the science community has changed for the better, and what first sparked her interest in science.

Brian Campbell NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility, Science Lead for GLOBE Observer Trees and Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign, NESEC
(Recorded 2020)
"A lot of teachers that I had as a child they inspired me"
Meet Brian Campbell, a NASA Senior Earth Science Specialist who works with satellite missions like ICESat-2 and with the GLOBE Program, including GLOBE Observer citizen science. He is passionate about making the NASA data understandable for kindergartners all the way through senior citizens. Hear about Brian's journey from high school teacher to NASA Outreach Scientist.

Dr. Trena Ferrell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NESEC Co-Investigator
(Recorded 2022)
“Find a good mentor… there are people out there that are willing to help you.”
Dr. Ferrell’s story with NASA all started with an email requesting an in-class visit for her students. She talks about the importance of STEAM (emphasis on the “A”), how studying abroad at a young age awakened her fascination with science, and how learning from her own academic hardships and successes have inspired her to give back – through science – to others.

Peter Falcon, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, GLOBE Trees Around the GLOBE, NESEC
(Recorded 2022)
“It’s NASA, why would you ever want to leave?”
Peter Falcon talks about his academic upbringing, the important role family has played in his life and career, and how every moment builds toward the potential of our character.

Dorian Janney, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, GLOBE Observer Citizen Science, NESEC
(Recorded 2022)
“What I love to do is to engage and inspire… and teach people.”
Sparked into Earth and Space Science through her son’s curiosity with space, Dorian Janney talks about how her journey as an educator and life-long learner led to working on NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission as a Senior Outreach Specialist, and how citizen scientists from around the world are providing important data for researchers through GLOBE Observer citizen science.

Photo of Kristen Erickson, NASA, Director for Science Engagement and Partnerships & Science Activation Leadership.
Kristen Erickson, NASA, Director for Science Engagement and Partnerships & Science Activation Leadership