Alumni Spotlight: USP Alum Christina Hammock '01 Selected as NASA Astronaut
Congratulations to USP Alum Christina Hammock '01, who is one of 8 individuals recently selected for the NASA astronaut training program. Christina, a double major in Electrical Engineering and Physics, is currently serving as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa. She has previously worked as a scientist in Alaska, Greenland, and Antarctica. Soon, however, she'll be back in the states to begin her next great adventure: two years of training with NASA in Houston. As part of NASA, Christina may do research on the International Space Station, or participate in the first human mission to an astroid or Mars. To learn more about Christina, read a recent alumni article and watch her "In Their Own Words" video for NASA.
"Thanks for all that you do for the USP! It definitely enriched my life while I was at NC State."
Senior Spotlight: Ian Hill, '13
Ian Hill, a senior double-majoring in Biochemistry and Polymer & Color Chemistry, compiled a long list of accomplishments during his four years at NC State. He was a finalist for both the prestigious Gates-Cambridge and Churchill Scholarships, and a recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. He was an active participant in both the Park Scholars and University Scholars Programs, volunteered with Interact of Wake County, and took on leadership roles with the Global Health Initiative. He also participated in undergraduate research with Dr. David Hinks in the College of Textiles, and interned with Tengion, a biotechnology company in Winston-Salem. Upon graduation this May, Ian plans to get his PhD in Biochemistry with a focus on applied research.
Ian originally joined the University Scholars Program because he was excited about Scholars Forum and the opportunity to meet new people. He liked the breadth of cultural opportunities offered by the program. He remembers hearing famed ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin speak, and being inspired to read his book and take a class on medicinal plants. He was also motivated to take a film studies class based on his experiences in the USP Film Series. Overall, he says, “the USP got him started on the right path” at NC State.
When asked about his advice for Scholars just beginning their undergraduate careers, Ian stressed the importance of “good mentoring relationships, connecting on a personal level with faculty, and asking a lot of questions.” According to Ian, “Don’t be afraid to ask faculty to participate in research early on, and don’t be afraid to apply for big programs or big scholarships.”