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This thought was originally written by Ariel Waldman for the Pastry Box Project and has been reposted here.

As someone who has publicly stumbled into a career in space, I often get asked about my interest in space as a little girl — if I had dreams of being an astronaut growing up, if I begged to go to space camp. These questions often bother me, not for being asked, but in the way they’re asked. In a sense, they’re not even questions. The interviewer is throwing me what they believe to be a softball question, assuming with almost certainty that I’ll have a quaint heart-warming story about how I now have achieved what I always dreamed about as a kid. The reality is that I don’t have any stories like that. Space and science barely registered on my radar growing up — not due to bad schooling or uneducated parents (both were great) — but probably because I had already found a love in art and design. From the time I was an early teenager, I was obsessed with one day becoming an “Executive Creative Director”, and spent the next eight years of my life dedicated to that one goal; working my way up the corporate ladder at an interactive agency and attending art school. It was only through serendipity (i.e. unexpectedly landing a job at NASA) five and a half years ago that I awoke to my obsession with space exploration. …

About

Ariel Waldman

Creator of @Spacehack, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration. Global instigator of @ScienceHackDay. @NASciences Human Spaceflight Committee.

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