I grew up in Augsburg, Germany which is about 60 minutes west of Munich. In my hometown, we have a lot of big engineering companies such as Siemens, Kuka, and Premium Aerotec (Airbus). However, growing up I was mostly focused on playing basketball and trying to make that a career.
While playing in the NBBL (Germany's under 19 first division basketball league), I started an apprenticeship to become a computer engineer. This was my first exposure to engineering and I learned from great mentors and teachers that many of the skills I used to excel in basketball could be applied to an engineering career.
The love I had for detail when it came to playing and coaching, always developing new methods to improve, and optimizing strategies, are all skills that carry over well; but it wasn’t until injuries started plaguing me that I decided to focus more on engineering and enrolled at the Hochschule Augsburg (Augsburg University of Applied Sciences).
At first my interest in aerospace engineering came through an amazing intro lecture to astronautics by one of my professors in Germany. I was fascinated by the combination of complex engineering systems and incredible individual human contributions to achieve goals such as the International Space Station.
When I transferred to the University of Alabama, I was confronted with the personal challenge of adapting and living in a completely new environment, far away from my family and friends. Overcoming this significantly improved the quality of my life and made me want to pursue a career in human spaceflight where I could help astronauts build a home far away from Earth.
After internships at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Langley Research Center, I enrolled in CU Boulder's aerospace PhD program with a focus in bioastronautics and I am now entering my 4th year.
When looking for potential graduate programs to enroll in, CU Boulder's unique bioastronautics program immediately stood out to me. No other university around the country had as many human spaceflight-focused classes and professors as CU Boulder. Additionally, during my internship at JSC, I got to meet some CU Boulder graduate students (who are now friends) who were very welcoming and genuine.
Lastly, when I reached out to my advisor, Prof. David Klaus, he took the time to read through my material and put an emphasis on getting to know me personally. Those factors combined convinced me CU Boulder would be a place where I could be happy and succeed.
There are many things to love about the university and this area: the weather, the mountains, the new aerospace building, the long and rich aerospace legacy, and so much more.
But the one thing that stands out the most to me is the community; the way that the professors and staff interact with the students and how most labs are more like a little family instead of just a workplace.
Graduate school is challenging but it is a lot more fun when you get to work next to your friends.