Christopher Snead (Ph.D., 2016)

“I am currently at NASA's Johnson Space Center in the Astromaterials Curation Facility. My official title is Assistant Professor of Practice at Texas State University, San Marcos, which is participating in the Johnson Space Center Engineering, Technology and Science (JETS) contract for NASA JSC. I am working in the advanced curation division, which develops new sample collection, handling, and storage of future sample return missions, such as OSIRIS-REx, Hayabusa II, potential comet nuclear/volatile sample return, and Mars Sample Return.

"I'd encourage UCLA students to choose a major within EPSS because it is an exceptionally interdisciplinary department. EPSS students are exposed to cutting edge research in extremely diverse fields.

"In my case, the research I conducted on cosmic dust particles prepared me to participate in high-level decisions about how future samples will be collected, curated, and analyzed in a way that maximizes scientific yield.

"Professor Kevin McKeegan was intimately involved in the analysis of comet samples returned by NASA's Stardust mission, and I was eager to work with him and learn about how cosmochemistry can answer questions about early solar system processes.

"Based on my time working at JSC, I have absolutely seen a great need for more graduates who have studied geochemistry and related subjects like those in EPSS."