University of New Hampshire
Department of Physics
Bachelor of Science in Physics, May 2007
2008 NASA Glenn Academy
Every child posses the beautiful ability to imagine without limits, and it is at this point of our lives where we fill our minds with ideas of grandeur and dreams of becoming something great. Then somewhere along the line those limitless dreams meet a harsh reality and for many are dashed by compromise. It is here where I make my stand. You see as a young child I too had a dream, I had a dream of making a difference in this world, I had a dream of making this world a better place for everyone to live. I just didn’t know how to do it. I guess that the simplicity of this dream is the essence of its beauty. As a child I didn’t have to know how to make it happen, just what I wanted to have happen. However if it is to become a reality I soon realized that I would need a plan and many goals. It was another dream of mine that I settled on and set as my life’s goal.
That dream was to become an astronaut. Many people can probably claim that they wanted to be an astronaut at some point in their lives, but not many actually do. I am one who will see that goal through to the end. There is a fascinating aspect about space exploration that gives me a funny feeling inside. Whenever I am around something that reminds me of the subject I am touched deeply in my heart by an urge that says, “This Jay is what you are here to do”. It’s difficult to explain with words, but I feel compelled to become an astronaut and captured by the possibility of being able to achieve great scientific feats through my exploration of space. Like Marco Polo and Ponce de Leon before me I want to push the envelope of human understanding and help pioneer the new era of exploration. The new era that will unlock the secrets of not only our world, but our universe as well.
In my younger days you could have referred to me as a follower. I was a fairly quiet young man who played sports and always focused heavily on my studies. However despite my academic efficiency and athletic involvement it was very clear to me that there was a social gap in my life. It was for these reasons that I made it a priority to practice leadership in high school. I began by involving myself in every extra-curricular activity I could find, and by applying to an international youth leadership organization known as HOBY (Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership). The HOBY experience led me to Washington D.C. for the program’s World Leadership Congress, an experience that I still treasure to this very day.
Through my involvement with HOBY I found the more outgoing, charismatic young man that I knew was inside me. I returned from the experience and went on to apply my leadership elsewhere. I became class president, a leader of 4 different extra-curricular activities, captain of my soccer team, and was accepted to another national leadership conference held in Washington the following year. What I found through all of this was an energy source for my ambitions. My leadership involvement gave me reason to remain motivated through the tough times and kept me on track when all else would have led me astray.
Work Experience / Research / Hobbies
I have been working in some facet since I was thirteen years old. I began stocking shelves for my father at a local Wal-Mart, and then went on to work at a coffee shop for several years. During the high school years I spent my summers as a camp counselor for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and started my own Disc Jockey business with my best friend. The business, which we call ‘Absolute Jamz’, has been an amazing success. We began DJ’ing middle school dances with a couple of home theater speakers, and now work weddings, dances, and political functions with a professional disc jockey system.
I still DJ to this very day, but more recently have found myself immersed in an exciting array of NASA related research. Last year I had the honor of being a Research Assistant with 2007 NASA Ames Academy. While at Ames I served as a payload team member and data analyst for the highly anticipated LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission. Prior to that, during my undergraduate years, I served as a payload team member for the STEREO (Solar TEresstrial Relations Observatory) Mission, specifically the PLASTIC (PLAsma Supra Thermal and Ion Composition) investigation.
Outside of work and academia I enjoy building model rockets. Many of my friends actually refer to me as ‘Rocketman’ when they see the three large model rockets I keep in my apartment. Beyond rocketry I enjoy playing video games and going for drives in my convertible as a de-stressor. Lastly, if you want to find me on any given Sunday you’ll have to look for the couch or the racetrack because that’s where I will be cheering on my favorite NASCAR driver Jeff Burton.
So what’s next? I have recently applied to the United States Air Force Officer Training School Selection Board. I am seeking a commission as a pilot in the USAF, where it is my plan to fly in service of my country for many years into the future. In the long run I hope to attend Test Pilot School and eventually down the road hope to become an astronaut and accomplish my dream of having a positive influence on our world.