Maybe it IS Rocket Science: An Interview with NASA’s Michelle Thaller

Some of Michelle Thaller’s earliest memories consist of gazing at the night sky in her backyard. Just a child in the early 1970s, Michelle felt something strangely magnetic pulling her to explore the worlds beyond our own. This intense curiosity sparked her passion for science and ignited her mind.

“I always wanted to go out and look at the stars. It’s something that runs deep inside me.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA


Michelle Thaller (right) in her Space Camp suit

Over time her curiosity only intensified. Michelle loved to study math and science in school. And sure, those subjects weren’t popular for women. While no one particularly discouraged her to pursue her interest in science, no one really encouraged her passion either. That didn’t stop her. Michelle refused to settle for what was average or comfortable. She refused to give up on her dream just because others couldn’t see it.

Michelle dedicated herself to school and the pursuit of knowledge. By the time she graduated from her small rural high school, Michelle Thaller had been accepted to Harvard University. She decided to major in astrophysics.

In her small high school, Michelle had been a big fish in a small pond. But Harvard was more like the ocean. Michelle found herself struggling in her classes. She felt ill-prepared for the challenges she faced. Family and friends all encouraged her to consider changing tracks. They asked why she wouldn’t choose something a little easier.

“Anything worth doing hardly ever comes easy.” -Michelle Thaller, NASAmichelle-thaller-nasa-1

Michelle decided they would have to kick her out before she would leave. She would study relentlessly. She would defy expectations. She would boldly take the necessary risks in order to achieve her dream.

“Just because something isn’t easy, doesn’t mean that you aren’t meant to do it.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA

Michelle Thaller is now a graduate of Harvard. She holds a masters from Georgia State University. She narrates the show, How the Universe Works. She is the Director of Science Communication for NASA. She is living proof that your dreams can become your reality. michelle-thaller-nasa-hat

“The bias is that scientists aren’t warm and emotional people. But people might be surprised to know that I love shopping and dancing. I am silly and enthusiastic. I put a lot of effort into my personal life and my family. If you love something, do it. You don’t have to fit into a certain type.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA

Do you have big dreams of your own? Do you have even bigger dreams for your girl? Then the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is exactly what you need. Teach your girl to be a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, and Leader. In other words; a Girl Scout.





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