My Career Journey
I have been fascinated by the planet Mars since I was a kid. I once talked my mom into
letting me stay home from school in the sixth grade to watch the first images of Mars
coming back from the Mariner 4 spacecraft that were being shown live on TV. Growing up in
Los Angeles I got an opportunity to go to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and see firsthand
one of the Surveyor spacecraft that eventually landed on the Moon. I followed the Apollo
missions to the Moon in high school and continued to watch the early spacecraft missions
to Mars. As a college student at UCLA, it never occurred to me that I could actually get
a job studying Mars but, as a senior, I got a job in a research lab cutting and filing
Mariner 9 images of Mars. Working on this project suddenly made me aware that it might be
possible to study Mars as a career, and I eventually enrolled in graduate school at UCLA.
In my graduate work I used data from the Viking orbiters and landers to study martian
climate change, the sedimentary cycle (erosion, transportation and deposition), aeolian
(wind) processes, and volcanic processes.