Patricia Randazzo

College of Idaho
Caldwell, ID

Mathematics /Physics

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bill Borucki

Personal Background:

As a child who grew up surrounded by mountains, I have developed an unusual passion for recreational activities. As such, discovering the world as a child was potentially very treacherous but always rewarding. Experiencing the brutal cold of winter blizzards and the sweltering heat of dry summers only made me question why the planet experienced such extremes. It was this process of constant curiosity about our planet which fueled my desire to know how things work. Alas, it seems only natural to follow the path of physics to study the behavior of nature and, in general, how the universe works.

Education and NASA Experience:

If I were to define the first moment I directly experienced a NASA event, it would be at Girl Scout summer camp in 2000 when I was selected to participate in the Innovators Camp. During this camp, we spent one week engineering shoes from cardboard and duct tape, exploring the innards of a computer tower, experimenting with household chemicals, and learning about the formation of our mountains. Each day we had a guest speaker and one of those speakers talked to us about space and NASA. She described and demonstrated NASA’s mission and how NASA influences our lives. For one of her demonstrations, she placed a black orbiter tile under a red hot torch where it changed from black to red hot, then finally white. Once the heat was removed, the tile quickly returned to black. As I was observing this, so many thoughts were going through my head: do objects entering the atmosphere really get that hot, how do they keep the astronauts from overheating, what kind of insulating material is that made out of, where is all the energy going?

After that, it wouldn’t be till the summer of 2010 that I would directly experience NASA again, however this time I was an intern at the NASA Johnson Space Center, mission control itself. My internship project gave me an overarching view of how NASA operates and organizes itself. After that, I have remained close with NASA, continuing my education by interning in different fields within the NASA community. I know that my experience is rare and therefore plan activities and presentations for my fellow college students, old high school, and old Girl Scout troop. In this way, I am spreading the awesomeness which is NASA.

Interests and Extra Curricular Activities:

I love almost any outdoor activity: rock climbing, hiking, trail running, canoeing, river rafting, kayaking, fishing, swimming, water skiing, camping, backpacking, skiing, etc. During my college career, I competed in freestyle skiing for four years as well as was elected Student Director for the College of Idaho’s Outdoor Program for two years.

I also enjoy music of all sorts and I have played my viola with various orchestras for the past 6 years including the College of Idaho’s Sinfonia as well as the Utah Youth Symphony orchestra.
I can also be found reading, writing, and playing games of various mediums (cards games, board games, computer games, and console games).

Future Plans:

Upon receiving my bachelors of science in Mathematics/Physics I hope to attend graduate school and receive my Ph.D. in planetary physics. Afterwards, I hope to continue working with NASA as a planetary physicist and researcher and ultimately support the agency as an astronaut.