Name: Deborah Bass
Job Title: Deputy Science Team Chief for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Hometown: Palo Alto, California
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. University of Pennsylvania
Deborah admires Jan Bernstein, the education/technology coordinator for The Tech Museum in San Jose, CA. Deborah worked with her for several summers in high school, when she was given her first big "break".
During her free time, Deborah enjoys scuba diving, cooking, and hiking with her husband and her dog, a German Shepherd named Halee.
How she became interested in her profession:
Laura, a graduate student in Geology at the University of Pennsylvania was Deborah's TA in her first geology class. "She was very smart, very studious, and still very hip and beautiful."
Deborah took a geology class in high school that she liked. Even though her best subjects in high school were English and history, her family expected her to go into medicine since it was a common profession within her family. "But in school at the University of Pennsylvania, I kept taking geology classes, even though my family was expecting me to be a doctor!" She didn't declare her major in geology until her senior year in college.
What she likes about her field of work:
Her interest in planetary geology sprung from her initial interest in geology. "The thing I like best about geology is that you look at the 'big picture'. You combine a little physics, a little biology, a little chemistry and a little history. You look at how things interact with one another."
Science isn't the only thing she does and enjoys, however. "A lot of what I do every day is coordinate information between different people... I never know what challenges are going to face me each day when I get to work - we say that we are 'fire fighters' in a way, because what we do is deal with the little brush fires that spring up each day. It is very fast-pace and exciting work."