Ryan Boodee

Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Charleston, SC

Mathematics and Physics

Principal Investigator: Dr. Pete Worden

I was born a child of the space age. Ever since I was young, I have had a penchant for knowledge about space—one so fierce that I had read through the entire astronomy section of my library in my elementary school years. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of going to space, and understanding the “Final Frontier.”

As I have grown older, my dream has not been lost—even as many of my friends have. I started most to stray from the path of my friends in my sophomore year of high school: the year I applied and gained acceptance into the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). NCSSM is a public boarding school in which the state’s most academically gifted high school students spend their junior and senior years. At the school I was surrounded by many students who I believe will shape the future of science. Although education at NCSSM was taken very seriously, learning was as exciting as it was challenging. I further developed my focus and tenacity at this school and, excelling in physics, kept firmly on track toward my dream of someday going to space. Finally, after the two most challenging and enjoyable years of my life hitherto, I graduated from NCSSM with honors.

To continue my education I chose to attend The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina, with a full academic scholarship. Without question, The Citadel has had a tremendous effect on me both as an academic and a leader. As a trumpet player at The Citadel, in my freshman year I had an obligation to play many of the daily bugle calls for the school. The frequent duty, which must be performed punctually and reliably, helped me develop time management skills more so than any other experience I have had. Through determination and hard work, I achieved two of the highest ranking sophomore leadership positions in Regimental Band Company: Company Armorer and Company Clerk. Next year I will hold the rank of Second Battalion Supply NCO, in which I will be responsible for supplies procurement and maintenance for a battalion of around 500 cadets.

The disciplined environment of The Citadel has allowed me to excel—earning a cumulative 4.0 GPA while double-majoring in Physics and Mathematics, avoiding any demerits from poor conduct or meticulous military inspections, and learning leadership through ranks I have achieved. In addition to my success at the Citadel, I was selected for an internship after my freshman year of college by a section of NASA’s South Carolina Space Grant Consortium called the “Palmetto Research Academy.” In this internship, I worked to modify a scientific camera to be used as a telescope on the Atsa Suborbital Laboratory. The results of this research were presented at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto, California on February 27, 2012. The internship with the Palmetto Research Academy has given me an even greater zeal for space, and ensured that I pursue another research experience this summer.

In the summer of 2012, I look forward to returning to California for a NASA Academy Internship at their Ames Research Facility. This summer I will research specifics regarding a one-way settlement of Mars under the Ames Center Director Dr. Pete Worden. I will then return to The Citadel for my junior and senior years, after which I hope to attend either the California Institute of Technology or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn higher degrees in Physics.