Carolyn's Open Road


    Code Trip


    Pasadena, CA


Postdoctoral Fellow
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab

“If there’s something that you want to do all the time, you’ll find a way to make a living out of it.”


Environment & Nature Technology


Courage Dedication Passion Exploration Perseverance Hobbies & Pastimes Individualism Hard Work Support & Encouragement Failure Fear Risk Community Negativity Education Values Fulfillment


Building Things


asking questions, bravery, change, confidence, curiosity, enjoyment, enthusiasm, exploration, failures, fulfillment, happiness, motivation, noise, open mind, options, perseverance, positivity, risk, risks, sacrifices


  • Has loved volcanoes since she was a young child; even won an elementary-school science fair with a volcano she’d built.
  • Even as she got older, every time she saw a TV show or a magazine article about volcanoes, she was interested.
  • When she was in high school, everyone started saying, “Follow your dreams,” so she thought, “Why not?”
  • Spent five years on Hawaii doing research for her Ph.D. in physical volcanology.
  • Says that getting your Ph.D. proves to people that you can think independently, you can learn on the fly, and you can solve problems.
  • While she was in Hawaii, she watched lava rising out of a crack in the ground and became obsessed with the question, “What’s down there? What’s below that crack?”
  • From those initial questions, she was able to present the scientific benefits of knowing what was inside of volcanoes to NASA, who decided to fund her project.
  • Taught herself everything she needed to know about coding and robotics by asking “almost 100 questions a day” and taking online classes on her own time.

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