Jake Gamsky

University of Kentucky
Georgetown, KY


2009 NASA Ames Academy Alumni

As a young child, I have memories of looking up at the dark night sky and wondering about the vast opportunities for exploration and scientific discovery that it beholds. However, it wasn't until my sophomore year of undergraduate study that I learned about the complex laws of physics and the origin of the universe that I looked up into that same night sky, still full of amazement and wonder and thought about the intricate mathematics and physics that took place in the cosmos.

These thoughts led me to pursue a physics degree from a small, liberal-arts school called Georgetown College in Kentucky. Upon arriving at Georgetown College on an academic/athletic scholarship, I soon realized and appreciated the fact that there were only two physics professors in the entire faculty (and only a handful of physics majors). I was completely fascinated in the fact that almost everything in the universe can be explained or discovered using mathematics. I plan to continue my education and pursue Masters and Doctoral degrees in related scientific fields.

In addition to studying physics, I began the quest to learn more (outside of what my small college had to offer) of how these concepts affect the world around me. This quest led me to NASA. I was fascinated with our country's accomplishments and wanted to be apart of this unique organization. In the summer of 2008, I knew I wanted to devote my career path to the possibility of becoming an astronaut, someday returning to the lunar surface or being a part of a Mars endeavor.

My passion to study, explore and learn from some of the most brilliant minds in the world led me to an NASA internship at Kennedy Space Center in the spring of 2009. This internship provided me with an incredible research and life-experience opportunity. I conducted research with Dr. Philip Metzger into the properties and compaction of lunar regolith in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon. A few months after that, I was selected to be a part of the prestigious NASA Ames Academy for Space Exploration. I spent an amazing summer researching the toxic effects of lunar dust particles, developing professional relationships, and learning about the vast, complex organization that is NASA.

After 8 months away from the classroom I transferred to a new school, The University of Kentucky (UK), and began a new chapter of my education. I returned to campus rejuvenated about the possibilities in space and space research and founded a SEDS (Student for the Exploration and Development of Space) chapter at UK. In the spring of 2010, I had the opportunity to speak at the 2010 Earth and Space Conference in Honolulu, HI, receive the best student paper award and meet Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt. I'm deeply grateful to the KY Space Grant and UK for funding this endeavor.


At Georgetown College I was a baseball Academic All-Conference selection and participated in a number of intramural sports. I also enjoy reading, running, playing golf, weight lifting, swimming, sailing, hiking, video games and listening to people tell of the unique experience and benefit of dedicating their lives to space exploration. I am also scuba certified and would like to go on more dives.

I look forward to the summer at NASA Ames as a staffer and the extraordinary research, leadership, and teambuilding opportunities this unique and selective program offers.