Faces in the Crowd: Erin Rezich
As a child, Rapid City native Erin Rezich enjoyed working on science projects and playing with space themed Legos. That was an insight to her future career at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Erin Rezich says she doesn’t have plans to step foot on the moon, but her work at NASA aims to leave it’s own tracks.
Her NASA career began in college with the Pathways Program; now she’s three years post-grad as an aerospace engineer.
She says her normal day at work varies, sometimes sitting behind a desk, other times, Rezich says, “I play in a sandbox.”
While in the lab – she’s doing test programs and collecting data to help make decisions that apply to a certain program.
Now, that’s the VIPER Rover, which has the moon in it’s focus.
Erin Rezich, NASA Aerospace Engineer, says ,“And so it’s going to go to the South Pole of the moon and it has this long, one meter drill and it’s job is to identify water/ice at different depths. We want to understand how is it mapped, like what does it look like if you were to set up a mine or something like that, how would you mine this as a resource.”
The Stevens High School grad says she was inspired to go into the aerospace field from her high school teacher, Dr. Smith, and his weather balloon project – a yearlong endeavor.
Rezich adds, “I mean it was like 5 a.m. when we launched it, and I just remember we went and drove way out on [Interstate] 90 to go pick it up in the middle of this guys ranch and it was fun … we picked it up we were like – this box was in space.”
She hopes her story and path to NASA inspires young girls to chase after their dreams in math and science fields.
“It’s not impossible and here’s at least how I made it work – that doesn’t mean its the right way to do it all the time but at least here’s some steps you can take, and so I think that’s a fun message to spread because it’s not something that everybody hears,” says Rezich.
Erin just began a Ph.D. program at the Colorado School of Mines; she says she’s getting her degree in ‘space dirt’ or more officially, Space Resources.