Alumna blasts off for the ISS

Christiana H. Koch
Christiana H. Koch (Image credit: NASA, 1/10/14. Image shared under a Creative Commons license.)

Engineering graduate Christina Hammock Koch launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan on March 14, bound for the International Space Station.

Koch, who holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and electrical engineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering, is expected to spend six months in orbit. It will be the culmination of nearly six years of training since she was selected as one of NASA’s eight astronauts in the Class of 2013.

As a child, Koch dreamed of becoming an astronaut. At NC State, she received encouragement from faculty mentors in both physics and electrical engineering and did summer undergraduate research in an astrophysics lab.

“As I grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina, there weren’t necessarily a lot of engineers that I saw on a daily basis,” she said in an interview before the launch. “Somehow, though, I got it into my head that I wanted to be an engineer. So I hope I can be an example to people who might not have someone to look at as a mentor that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what examples there might be around you, you can achieve whatever you’re passionate about.”

…it doesn’t matter where you come from or what examples there might be around you, you can achieve whatever you’re passionate about.

Christina Hammock Koch


Return to contents or download the Spring/Summer 2019 NC State Engineering magazine (PDF, 13.7MB).

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