Companies hope chatbots and video interviews will improve the recruiting process for everyone.
Most job seekers and human resources managers would agree that the hiring process is flawed.
It’s as if the two groups speak different languages. For example, there’s a disconnect in how HR and job seekers prefer to communicate, and there’s also a gap between how employers present job requirements and the skills job seekers include on their resumes. Applicant tracking systems seem to arbitrarily weed out candidates or, worse, lose them in a black hole. Employers say they can’t find candidates with the right skills and are eager to fill open jobs.
There isn’t an easy fix for recruiting process problems. But employers want to talk to qualified candidates and workers want to talk to recruiters. This human-to-human connection is still the most important aspect of hiring. As strange as it sounds, technology may actually help more of these conversations happen. Here’s how:
Improved Job Postings
In order to attract the best candidates, HR needs to write a compelling yet accurate job description. The technology exists to assess and analyze job postings based on how well they do. Manually analyzing this data consumes a lot of time, but algorithms can quickly analyze successful job postings and descriptions and make suggestions to improve the wording to address the unique needs of specific candidates. This saves hours and improves the applicant pool. It also better informs potential candidates.
Companies already use artificial intelligence to provide customers with answers at any time. Now HR can use it to provide more information to job seekers when they need it. Chatbots allow applicants to ask questions and get quick automated answers while perusing the company’s website. Do you want to know what the company’s culture is like? Just ask.
Chatbots are also used to pre-screen interested candidates by asking qualifying questions. Be aware that information given to and provided by chatbots is reviewed by HR.
Once you apply to a job, you may receive a link to a video interview platform before you talk with a recruiter. Recorded video interviews save recruiters time by replacing screening calls. They also provide candidates with an opportunity to prepare answers to questions.
Algorithms review recorded video interviews to evaluate the answers by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones. If all goes well, candidates move forward for in-person interviews.
Proponents of this kind of evaluation claim it removes human bias while providing recruiters with better-quality candidates in less time. For job seekers, a video interview provides the opportunity to thoughtfully construct your answers and explain your qualifications. During a phone interview, you may not have as much time to plan your responses as thoroughly.
The best advice for a video interview is to make sure you are prepared. Research the company, know about the job and make sure you record in a neutral, professional setting.
You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.
But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)
Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points
Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)
So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.
Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?
Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.
Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples
OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.
Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.
If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.
Hyundai has shown off a small model of a car it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain and also able to climb a 5ft (1.5m) wall and jump a 5ft gap.
The Hyundai Elevate could be useful for emergency rescues following natural disasters, Hyundai said.
It was part of a project exploring “beyond the range of wheels”, it added.
The concept has been in development for three years and was unveiled at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas.
“When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot,” said Hyundai vice-president John Suh.
“Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete.”
Mr. Suh also suggested that wheelchair users could be collected via the vehicles, which could “walk” up to the front door of a building with step-only access.
Prof David Bailey, from Aston Business School, said: “Often car companies bring out lots of concepts which may or may not make it into production but it’s great to think in new ways about mobility.
“For most of us, it’s going to be wheels and roads but in extreme situations there may be scope for this sort of thing.
Continue on to BBCnews.com to read the complete article.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers are revolutionizing the STEM field. If your New Years goals include a career in this field, or educational studies to advance your career, check out these hot jobs for 2019!
Annual Wage: $101,790
Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2026.
Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.
Computer Systems Administrator
Annual Wage: $81,100
Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2026.
Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.
Annual Wage: $132,280
Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2018 to 2026.
Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.
Annual Wage: $78,470
Employment of architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2026.
Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.
Annual Wage: $63,990
Employment of cartographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2026.
Cartographers collect, measure, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, emergency response, and other purposes.
I don’t have to tell you that January is quite the kick-starting month. Exhibit A: Have you noticed how packed your gym suddenly gets every January due to fitness-related resolutions?
But it’s also a big time of year for careers. See, plenty of us have just spent the holidays reevaluating our goals (and having to talk about said goals with judging family members). As a result, we enter January feeling motivated to make a change—whether it’s to go after a new job, a new company, or a new field completely.
But before setting the wheels in motion, it’s important to understand exactly what to expect from a job search this month. Here’s what the experts say:
Mid-January Is Your Best Bet for Applying
Why? As HR executive and Muse career coach Angela Smith points out, most people will still be recovering from the holiday break that first week.
“Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says, so once those processes start to pick up your best bet is to apply toward the middle of the month to ensure your application doesn’t get lost in a sea of unopened holiday mail.
Hiring Is a Big Priority in January
“In sales the end of the quarter is when people don’t take time off. In recruiting people tend to not take time off in the beginning of the year because that’s the busiest time,” says Smith.
The reasons why are several-fold, she explains. The new quarter brings new budgeting plans, which can mean more money to hire more people. It also brings new sales forecasts or company-wide goals, which can indicate where a company might be focusing their recruiting efforts and which teams they’re looking to build out. “Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says.
That said, Smith warns that this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more jobs available in January than other times of the year.
…But There’s Also More Competition
January tends to bring an influx of eager job seekers, leading to more competition for job openings.
To state the obvious, “there will be a higher volume of people applying for jobs in January as more people wait until the holidays are over to begin looking for a possible change,” says Jamie Cole, Senior Account Manager at Merritt Staffing, a full-service recruiting agency.
Besides the #NewYearNewYou energy, folks may have a financial incentive to wait until January to job hunt. As Cole notes, companies often have a policy where bonuses aren’t distributed until the end of the year, and “people ideally do not like leaving money on the table with their last employer.”
…And the Process May Be Slower
While hiring in January may be more aggressive, it may also be a more drawn-out process.
Besides new budgets, January could also indicate other internal changes for companies: “I’ve worked with companies that have implemented a new ATS [applicant tracking system] in the new calendar year, so they’re testing out new systems or processes,” says Smith, which could mean delays in getting recruiting off the ground.
And, says Cole, you have to “be aware that not every company may have a finalized budget in place for the year…and this may cause a delay in hiring decisions.”
However, she notes, this could also be a positive: Since they haven’t yet filled those roles, you have a shot at locking them down if you apply in January.
The bigger reason why the process tends to slow down in January is because there’s no real rush. Simply put, “[employers] take their time because they have the time and the money” to do so, says Smith. “Pace yourself, and don’t expect super quick responses or a super quick process,” she adds.
What Does This All Mean?
The short answer? Treat your job search in January like you would any other month.
Resumes get a bad rap. We write them begrudgingly, usually during periods of transition, or tumult. We fiddle with phrasing and format, agonizing over how to craft our qualifications into the best resume possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.
Yahoo MONEY teamed up with Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, to help you become one of those job seekers. Here’s how to write the perfect resume — and a free resume template that you can download and use for your next job interview.
When it comes to resume format and design, opt for a clean layout. A recent study from the job site Ladders found that resumes with so-called F-pattern and E-pattern layouts, which mimic how our eyes tend to scan web pages, hold a recruiter’s attention for longer than those aligned down the center, or from right to left.
There is no one specific “best” font for resumes. You should use the same font style throughout, Leavy-Detrick says, but play with different weights and sizes to draw a recruiter’s eye to key parts of your resume. Sans serif fonts usually work best — Franklin Gothic, Calibri, and Avenir (the last of which we used for the attached template) are three of Leavy-Detrick’s favorites.
 Make Your Resume Stand Out
If you’re applying for an investment banking job, a hot-pink resume probably won’t do you any favors. But subtle pops of color, like the orange used here, will work for just about everyone.
“It’s very minimal, and gives a bit of a design element,” Leavy-Detrick says.
If you do use color, “Use it sparingly,” she warns. “Stick to one color, and one color that’s going to print well.”
 Add a Skills Section in Your Resume
Lead with the good stuff. The top of your resume should include “critical keywords and a quick snapshot of your core strengths,” Leavy-Detrick says.
Hard skills, tangible attributes that can easily be measured, take precedence here, so highlight them accordingly. If you’re in a tech-driven field, software and programming expertise is what employers want to see on your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, design and communication skills might be your best bet.
 Make a Resume That Shows Impact
To prove you’re worth a hiring manager’s time, highlight recent examples of what you bring to the table. Statistics that build upon your skills section are most impactful — bonus points if they show a track record of growth, revenue, and profitability, Leavy-Detrick says.
If you’re drawing a blank, she suggests adding resume skills that can help solve a “problem area” for the company you’re applying to.
“Impact doesn’t always have to be measured by metrics,” she says. “Cultural improvements, special projects, customer growth … anything that showed success can work.”
 What to Leave Off a Resume
Be discerning with the content—don’t list salary requirements, use tables or columns, or tick off every job you’ve ever had. The same goes for social media profiles. Unless your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best to leave those off your resume.
“Only include them if they add value in some way,” Leavy-Detrick says. “If you have zero followers, you may not want to advertise that.”
Continue on to Yahoo MONEY to read the complete article.
The first female African-American astronaut in space was not cured of curiosity when she whirled about the cosmos as part of NASA’s STS-47 in 1992. Her vision sharpened, like a kid who takes her first plane flight. Wondrous, yes, but still a hint.
Space, for Dr. Mae Jemison, is a wild trip in your bones and a homecoming in your soul. “It’s the one thing that connects us all around the world,” she said, in an interview with Diversity in STEAM Magazine. “And it also connects us to the planet and to the greater universe.”
Jemison is in demand, but she manages telescopic vision when it comes to her current project: 100 Year Starship.
The goal? Human travel to another solar system in the next 100 years. “Creating an extraordinary tomorrow actually creates a better world today,” Jemison said.
Jemison, the principal and leader of the 100 Year Starship program, stated on the organization’s website (100yearss.org): “When we explore space, we garner the greatest benefits here at home. The challenge of traveling to another star system could generate transformative activities, knowledge, and technologies that would dramatically benefit every nation on Earth in the near term and years to come.
“The concept of humans traveling to other star systems may appear fantastical, but no more so than the fantasy of reaching the moon was in the days of H. G. Wells. The First Men in the Moon was published considerably less than 100 years before humans landed on the Moon (1901 vs. 1969), and the rapidity of scientific and technological advances was not nearly as great as it is today. The truth is that the best ideas sound crazy at first. And then there comes a time when we can’t imagine a world without them.”
Jemison was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab. STS-47 was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments.
She was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment that traveled with the mission. In completing her first space flight, Jemison logged more than 190 hours in space. She’d been starstruck all her life; that didn’t change. “I imagined myself on another star, and I was connected to that star because I’m part of the universe,” she said.
Dr. Jemison, the author of Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life and other books, overcame all the obstacles placed on the career course, and life course, of an African-American woman. She negotiated each pothole, each roadblock, moved on, didn’t look back. “You make sure you’re doing the best you can do, but you don’t hang out at stumbling blocks that other people want you to hang around.”
Her advice for those facing similar challenges? “You have to be comfortable with yourself,” she said. “The key issue is to understand criticism. Is it coming because you aren’t doing something right or because someone has a different expectation of you?”
Jemison, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and a doctorate degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981, urges others to focus on education. “There is nothing we can do that is more important in this world than education,” she said. “Here’s the thing: Children don’t get to do 8 years old over again… if we fail to take advantage, then we have lost.”
The astronaut who went on to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame, and the Texas Science Hall of Fame, started off gazing at the night sky as a girl in Chicago and watching the Gemini and Apollo flights on TV.
“I used to be really irritated when I was a little girl that there were no women astronauts,” she said. “And no people of color in the astronaut program. Really irritated.”
She said there’s a difference between role models and inspiration. She’s had many role models, including cats (“They’re so confident; they don’t take nonsense”), but inspiration is another matter. “Life inspired me,” she said.
Jemison, a lover of the arts who dove deeply into dancing, has a background in engineering and medical research. She has worked in the areas of computer programming, printed wiring board materials, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, computer magnetic disc production, and reproductive biology. She completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in June 1982 and worked as a general practitioner with INA/Ross Loos Medical Group in Los Angeles until December of that year.
From January 1983 through June 1985, Jemison was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. On return to the United States, Jemison joined CIGNA Health Plans of California in 1985 and was working as a general practitioner and taking graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when she was chosen for the astronaut program in 1987.
She worked on the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and the Science Support Group activities.
Then she was chosen to go to space, and she made history. “We have been in science all along,” she said about women of color. “Even when people didn’t want us involved. I want folks to understand they have the right to be involved. They don’t have to ask.”
Jemison left NASA in 1993—with a new mission. “My path was to include other people,” she said. She formed the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which fosters science literacy. The non-profit, founded in honor of Jemison’s late mother, who was a school teacher, is all about “personal excellence.” The foundation’s main program, developed in 1994, is The Earth We Share international science camp. Students from the United States and around the world work together to solve such global issues as, “How Many People Can the Earth Hold?” and “Predict the Hot Public Stocks for the Year 2030.”
Today, if you visit the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City, Jemison will speak directly to you about the contributions women have made to the space program, via a life-size hologram in the exhibit Defying Gravity: Women in Space. She narrates, discussing her career and those of other women involved in the space program while visitors wear Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headsets and walk around the exhibit. Holograms appear, helping to illustrate her points, including a life-size rendering of an spacewalking astronaut that appears to be tethered to the real-life Enterprise that hangs above the installation.
Jemison’s story jumpstarted when, as a girl, she did a simple thing: she looked up.
The story never really ends; the cosmos are infinite; you can never look too closely or far enough. All this is to say Jemison is still looking up, and she wants others—especially generations to come—to do the same.
That’s why she coaxed a sea of people to do just that on September 28, 2018, as part of her Look Up project. “We want to chronicle what happens when you look up at the sky,” she said. “What do you hope, dream, think, fear, wish, plan, love?” Stories of those voyages were posted to the digital world as poems, songs, photos and art. That day and in the days after, Americans, Africans, French, Japanese, girls, boys, old, young and you-name-them connected in strange and soothing ways.
Ironman isn’t Ironman without the suit, but the suit has no power without the man. That is the future of robotic development, people and robots, working together hand-in-hand to accomplish more than we ever thought would be possible.
The next generation of robots isn’t working to replace people, it’s working to improve the lives and jobs of people. We see that in the industrial world, where robot design is pivoting from giant mechanical arms that take up factory floors, to smaller, more collaborative bots, that are designed to work alongside people. While these collaborative bots only make up 3% of the market today, they will make up 34% of the market by 2025.
In today’s world, to suggest that automation will eliminate the need for human workers is proving to be as ridiculous as suggesting that tablets will replace laptops. With the United States enjoying a 3.8% unemployment rate, the job market is more booming, and employees can be more selective about the roles they want to take. Locked in the battle for top talent, companies are looking to find ways to get more efficient and effective, rather than cut headcount.
Deloitte recently published a study confirming this fact, in that the majority of organizations leveraging automation are focused on the benefit of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce, rather than the motivation of replacing people. In most cases, as it becomes easier to accomplish formerly manual tasks through automation, organizations will take advantage of the extra bandwidth by retraining employees to manage more valuable or rewarding activities. And this suits the millennials just fine.
Millennials are Shaping the Nature of Work
When it comes to the workforce, no group has more to gain from the rise of robotics than millennials. As the most educated generation, millennials expect a lot from their time in the workforce. With different motivations than their parents, including a relentless focus on creating memorable experiences in all areas of their lives, millennials prioritize job opportunities that will allow them to develop their skills for the future, and find a rewarding career path.
Millennials crave opportunities for advancement and challenge, and they will not stay in roles that don’t offer it. The average job tenure was already in decline, but millennials will only accelerate this trend. A recent LinkedIn survey found that millennials were 16% more likely to switch industries and 50% more likely to relocate for a new job than non-millennials. Industries and jobs that have historically offered little room for advancement will be overlooked, as millennials expect to be trained on technical skills in their area of expertise, and want the opportunity to lead while pursuing creativity and innovation.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater.
Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh. This simple demonstration shows the science behind what Openwater is trying to achieve; wearable diagnostics made from consumer electronic parts that offer higher resolution than multimillion-dollar MRI machines but cost as much as a smartphone.
Just as the chicken’s tumor blocked the laser pointer light, which shone through the rest of the chicken’s flesh, Openwater’s wearables will capture images by recording light particles and the negative spaces where they fail to scatter. X-rays use radiation and MRI machines use a magnetic field and radio waves because they can go through the human body and produce an image. But so does “red light, infrared light,” Jepsen tells Forbes. “Guess which one is cheaper by a lot?”
It’s a method similar to how holograms are made, and it uses readily available camera and display chips you can find in a smartphone. It’s also an idea that took Jepsen’s skill set to consider, and perhaps her impressive CV to convince investors to buy in. The serial founder led the display divisions at Intel and the semi-secret research group Google X and helped develop Oculus after Facebook purchased the virtual reality headset company in 2014. But Openwater began with Princess Leia’s projected message to Obi Wan Kenobi, when Jepsen aimed her life at building holograms like the one she first saw in Star Wars.
Hooked by the lasers and optical illusions involved, Jepsen made her first hologram as an engineering undergrad at Brown. Later, she’d use her growing skill set to develop computer display screens and VR glasses at the top tech companies in the world.
At that time, however, holograms did not pay the bills. Because holography was viewed as a frivolous “technology looking for an application,” no one would fund it, Jepsen says. “I just had to figure out a way to support my habit. I basically lived all through my 20s on $12,000 a year just because I thought I’d die if I couldn’t make holograms,” Jepsen said.
Her pursuit of holograms bought her to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a professor of computer science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and helped put holograms on the country’s paper money. In Cologne, Germany, she built some of the world’s largest holographic displays, including one of historic buildings projected on an entire city block. Still, she didn’t feel her work was taken seriously, so Jepsen figured she’d need a Ph.D.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
In today’s online age, the number of threats to businesses and their customers increases every day. The largest obstacle in cybersecurity is the perpetual security risk that quickly evolves over short periods of time, leaving businesses with a widening gap in manpower and the resources needed to protect their data.
Almost daily, more information about cyberattacks makes its way into the headlines—for example, in 2017, hackers struck Disney claiming to have the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and threatening its release unless a ransom was paid.
Big Business is not the Only Target
The lion’s share of news coverage often comes from larger companies. In 2013, hackers stole data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards owned by shoppers of Target stores. In September 2014, Home Depot admitted that 56 million payment cards could be at risk due to a cyberattack. These security breaches were constant in the news cycle, but what you’ll rarely see in the news is the fact that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small business, and 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack!
CyberAttacks on Business Lead to Attacks on Customers
From May 2015 to May 2016, 50 percent of small business respondents said that they had data breaches that targeted customer and employee information. As a consumer, consider the amount of data that you share with the companies you do business with. If you make an online purchase, the business is likely to have a record of your email address, your home address, your phone number, and potentially even have your payment information stored.
If hackers are able to access a marketing database, they may only need your email to use phishing techniques to trick you into providing more sensitive information. You may think you’re communicating with a reputable business, but in reality you’re communicating with hackers who are stealing your information. Businesses and consumers should take care to learn more about protecting themselves from cyber threats, and err on the side of caution whenever interacting with a suspicious email or communication.
Growing Threats and a Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals
Cybercrime damages are expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, while businesses and government institutions are scrambling to protect themselves. By 2019, experts foresee a cybersecurity skills shortage of nearly 1.5 million open jobs. Recognizing the need for skilled professionals in the field, Northcentral University launched the Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management program, specialized in Cybersecurity. With the cybersecurity field growing, there will be a need for individuals trained to manage threats, along with essential leadership skills needed to manage teams of talented cybersecurity specialists. Learn more about the Cybersecurity degree programs at NCU.
Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.
Where are you from?
I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.
Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.
When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.
How did you end up working in the space program?
As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Who inspired you?
My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.
What is a Science Program Manager?
Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.
Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.
A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?
“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”
Smile: Life is a great adventure Transcend to triumph over the negative Aspire to be the best Resolve to be true to your heart Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams