14 April 2013 Meet Operation IceBridge Project Manager Christy Hansen

My sister wrote and asked ‘Where are all the women scientists?’ And she’s right to ask. The simple fact is that there aren’t enough. Below is my interview with Operation IceBridge project manager Christy Hansen. She is the lone female flying with the science team right now. There are lots of female scientists and engineers at NASA, but there probably aren’t enough. And that’s not unique to NASA by any means.

Christy HansenChristy Hansen - Operation IceBridge Project Manager dressed in an EVA space suit. Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA.

Studies show that for girls who lose interest in science, it generally happens between ages 10-12. Once lost, those interests are rarely reignited. While those girls, obviously, go on to other careers, it bothers me that the science door closes as early as it does for some young women. As the father of a daughter, that bothers me even more. I want her to keep every door open for as long as possible.

Chrsty HansenChristy worked training astronauts at Johnson Space Center in Houston before joining NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and OIB. Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA.

Christy is an incredibly dynamic, bright, and personable woman. She holds a master’s degree in space studies, and is responsible for keeping the entire Operation IceBridge project running. She’s the conductor of an dizzyingly complex symphony of airborne science. She’s also exactly the kind of role model needed for young women to follow. I hope my own daughter turns out like Christy.

Christy HansenChristy Hansen was a diver in high school -- it probably helped with this zero-g maneuver on-board NASA's KC-135 'vomit comet.' Photo courtesy of Christy Hansen/NASA.

The video isn’t just for women. Christy’s message of hard work, determination, and never letting anyone tell you that you can’t do something, applies to us all. If you do have young daughters, be extra sure to show them the interview. And then go do some fun science experiments with them!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a5qqEY5r4s

P.S. Also check out the soon-to-be-posted interview with the pilots. One of them, Cathy Martin, flies into hurricanes when she’s not flying for NASA.

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Journal Details

Location: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Weather Summary: sunny and mild
Temperature: 40

Airborne Survey of Polar Ice 2013 Journals