I grew up in El Paso Texas not speaking English. I went to college late in life, but in college, I discovered that I was really interesting in trying to understand how the universe began, how it changed, and what its future will be. I also discovered that that there were not many folks with my background doing this work and so became interested in encouraging young people from diverse groups to get involved in science.
What inspired you to explore STEM when you were young?
I don’t really know why I got interested in STEM. It may have been watching Sci-FI movies, or reading science fiction books. I just remember always being interested in trying to understand how nature worked. I remember reading and re-reading an old set of encyclopedias we have and spending most of my time in the science sections.
What do you enjoy most about what you do in your STEM career?
I like trying to understand how the universe works and doing that exploration with students. I like how the more I learn about the universe, the more I see how it seems to be governed by a relatively few number of laws which means many things are actually connected in fundamental ways.
What is a fun, bizarre or insightful STEM fact about your field?
Most astronomers and astrophysicists don’t work at telescopes! Telescopes are located in remote areas, away from lights, and at high and dry altitudes because those conditions make for better viewing. That means the observatories are hard to get to and don’t have room for a lot of people. Instead we just use the data acquired by the observatories