Jared Tomlin, a Hood College Environmental Biology student, was a self-taught graphic and web designer before entering school as a non-traditional student. He wanted to spend more time in nature and hopefully make a positive impact on the world, which changed his focus from technology to environmental science. He graduated from Shephard University in 2014 with a BS in Environmental Studies and received multiple scholarships and grants, before joining Hood’s Graduate School and continuing his pursuit of knowledge.
Jared learned about the NASA DEVELOP program by attending Hood’s Career and Internship Fair. After a lengthy application process he was accepted and began work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in summer, 2016. During the 10 week program, Jared’s team collaborated with United States Geologic Service and National Park Service ecologists at the Badlands National Park to identify invasive cheatgrass, and managed to present the findings at the Department of the Interior and NASA Headquarters at the Annual Earth and Science Application Showcase. He was also awarded the Science Systems and Applications Inc. (SSAI) scholarship, and was accepted for another term at Goddard in the summer of 2017, as a team leader. Jared then assisted in identifying areas of low resilience in the country of Niger, in collaboration with global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. More information about their efforts can be found in this video: https://youtu.be/yQokSfq7hOw. Jared was also selected to attend the NASA Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Summit in Buenos Aires, where he represented Cloud to Street, a private company that uses Google Earth Engine, cloud computing, and machine learning to identify historical floods at a scale not previously possible.
For all students looking to pursue a career with NASA, Jared suggests looking into DEVELOP. There are many opportunities for many different fields and interests, from earth science to program management to information technology, and even graphic design. Jared suggests following up and asking questions, to set yourself apart from someone who simply applies for the position.
Jared recalls that his arrival to Hood was accompanied with the expectation to accomplish great things, above and beyond a master’s degree. “What has stuck out the most to me during my time here was how the faculty encourages students to go and make their own path in the industry and foster relationships.” Jared also learned that developing a network is crucial in being successful in the community, as transition from the classroom into the field can be both challenging and exciting pursuit. “Hood has prepared me to meet that challenge and giving me the background to continue to grow.”