Anshare (Interviewer): What university did you graduate from and what field did you get your PhD in?
David (Interviewee): I have two bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. My Ph.D. in Physics is from The University of Texas at San Antonio, but my research was conducted at Southwest Research Institute.
A: How did you become interested in your current field of study?
D: At an early age I became passionate about NASA and the manned space program. I knew if I wanted to be involved I would need to get an education. I started off in aerospace engineering and it evolved from there.
A: Tell me a little bit about your area of research.
D: My research over the years has been very diverse. As an undergraduate, I studied the aurora and quantum spectroscopy. As a master’s student, I studied planetary wave activity in polar mesospheric clouds. My first job after my master’s degree involved working with thermospheric response to geomagnetic storms and traveling ionospheric disturbances. My Ph.D. research was in low altitude emissions of energetic neutral atoms. While I was at Goddard, I started research into plasma turbulence, which is what I am continuing at FSI
A: How did you hear about FSI, and why did you want to do your postdoc here?
D: I wanted to return to Florida, and there are three places that do space science in Florida: Embry Riddle, Florida Institute of Technology, and Florida Space Institute. I looked for available positions within all three, and Dr. Julie Brissett was the first person to offer me a position at FSI.
A: What do you enjoy about working with FSI so far?
D: Who you work with is sometimes more important than what you are doing initially. I have found that the people at FSI are more in line with my personal feelings about science.
A: What are your future plans for your research and career?
D: Currently, I am working on plasma turbulence that will probably continue for the first year of my postdoc, but I would like to return to studying geomagnetic storms. I have moved all over and I would like to settle down, so I would like to try and stay at FSI after my postdoc is over.