Nathan Parrish

California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, California

Aerospace Engineering

Principal Investigator: Dr. Matthew D'Ortenzio
Project: Detection of Caves and Subsurface Geology on Mars

Education and Experience:

Although many would call growing up in the middle of nowhere "boring", it has one premium feature which is becoming increasingly difficult to find: a clear view of the heavens. From a very young age, I was taught the wonders of the sky and came to hold the same respect for the vast space above us as I did for closer things like rocks and trees. Although I never would have guessed how far it would take me, space is a road I have always been on and hope never to leave.

All through high school, I was heavily involved with my school's FIRST Robotics team. My first two years of college, I was able to give some back to the program as a mentor. Now, I am a rising senior at Cal Poly, studying Aerospace Engineering. I have been increasingly involved with Cal Poly's AIAA chapter and love having fun with space, flight, and spaceflight.


One of my favorite hobbies is photography. I started shooting in middle school with an old (even then) point-and-shoot digital camera. For my 16th birthday, I upgraded to a Nikon D50, which is still great today, almost five years later! Other pastimes include biking (as in bicycles, not motorcycles), computer-ing (building, fixing, or using), and reading (I'm working through the Sword of Truth series right now).

Future Plans:

I have long anticipated an opportunity to work for NASA in some way, and I am excited to finally have that chance! I am hopeful that the Academy will be a guide for my first steps with NASA and that it will be the jumping off point for a long career of space, science, and engineering. My goal is to travel to space. If that proves impossible, my next goal is to see the world in its entirety. Working with a talented international crew on various aspects of space exploration this summer seems like a great way to work towards both goals simultaneously. With any luck and a lot of work, the Academy will let me form strong bonds with the individuals and institutions whose aim it is to stretch humanity's dreams and reality to the stars and beyond.