Photo from NASA/JPL-Caltech
Arts & Sciences alumna Nagin Cox '86 is profiled in this story on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website, which tells about her childhood in Kansas City, Kansas and her desire to study the stars. Cox has worked at the JPL for 25 years and has taken part in such iconic NASA missions as Galileo, the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, the exoplanet explorer Kepler, and InSight, a lander that will measure "quakes" to study the Martian interior.
"A high school junior, Cox spotted an Air Force trailer behind her school," the story says. "Even though she didn't want to be an astronaut, she knew many had a military background and it might be her ticket to NASA.
"A deal was on: Get into college and the Air Force would pay her way. And she knew exactly which college. 'At the end of 'Cosmos,' it would say, 'Carl Sagan: Cornell University.' I saw that and thought, 'I'm going to Cornell.' "