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Jamie Molaro
Physics Student
San Francisco State University
Spaceward Bound Mojave 2008

I am a physics student at San Francisco State University.  My primary focus is in particle physics, so a lot of the work I do is very theoretical and abstract.  It sounds very boring to a lot of people, but it requires a lot of imagination and creativity. The understanding I gain about the universe is more rewarding than I ever imagined when I decided to go into the field.

I grew up in a small northern California town called Grass Valley.  My interest in science started the day I started watching my soon to be favorite 80s show 3-2-1 Contact!  My parents bought me the magazine too.  Soon I was reading everything about science I could get my hands on.  In high school I decided that I wanted to major in physics once I got to college, but I didn't want to wait that long to get started on my career.  I got a job at a local children's science museum called The Imaginarium. My work there teaching summer camps, talking to museum visitors and building science exhibits really inspired me.  I learned a lot, and it re-enforced my interest in the field.  After I left home, I came to San Francisco and will graduate in a few months with my bachelor's degree.

I have done a lot of work teaching science to kids, and eventually I want to get back to teaching.  However, I gained the most from my teachers growing up when they had experience and stories from their work in the field, and I want to be able to offer that to my students as well. That is why this summer I am off to Fermilab National Accelerator to get some research experience. Then I plan to go through graduate school.  After that, who knows what the future holds?  

When I am not doing homework, I like to read, cook, camp and dj.  I am very close to my family and visit them in northern California often.  In all reality though, as a physics major I just don't have a lot of free time!  For anyone considering taking my path, you have to be willing to put in the effort for a few years.  A career in physics is not a light matter, but as long as you are willing to work hard, it will all pay off in the end.  You have to be passionate about it.  I love to learn about the universe and the way that it works!

"No imagination has yet been great enough to invent improvements to the truth" – Laurens Van Der Post

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: June 2011