I have always been interested in spaceflight. My parents link it to a toy space shuttle they got me secondhand when I was three. In 1992 I saw the shuttle Atlantis launch on STS-45, and that is when I remember deciding I wanted to be an astronaut.
I started my technical career during summers in high school when I worked as a software tester working on third party testing of e-commerce software. During college I participate in NASA's Space Grant program where I was fortunate enough to work on three separate undgraduate spacecraft, one of which launched in December 2004 during my senior year. I was also given the opportunity to work as a controller for the mission. Less than a week after graduation, in May 2005, I had an interview with Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I now work.
I have always enjoyed exploring here on Earth whether it be by backpacking, climbing 14ers or backcountry skiing, and now I get paid to help further the exploration of Mars. It's a dream come true.