Project Scientist, U.S. Rosetta Project
In the world of space science, Claudia Alexander is a household name. In addition to her position with the U.S. Rosetta Project, she was the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter and, early on, was a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As a researcher, Dr, Alexander’s studies have included the evolution and interior physics of comets, Jupiter and its moons, magnetospheres, plate tectonics, space plasma, the solar wind, and the planet Venus. She has written or co-authored 14 scientific papers.
“Throughout school I was one of few women in class and didn’t feel very feminine talking my way through engineering applications like dam or bridge building. At that time there were few female role models to give me a vision of myself as a professional engineer. I wasn’t feeling very validated, which played hugely into my self-esteem at the time. But I stuck with it. When I was a senior in undergraduate school, a professor nudged me into a senior project on Earth’s carbon cycle. It turned out great. He was really pleased and pretty much got me into graduate school. It was a case of a professor believing in me. I really needed that. Fifteen years later I was chosen to be the project scientist on Rosetta, a lifelong dream, and my life has never been the same!”