Carolyn's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Code Trip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Pasadena, CA

CAROLYN PARCHETA

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.”

INTERESTS:

Environment & Nature Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

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

FOUNDATION:

Building Things

TAGS:

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

BIOGRAPHY:

  • 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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