About Me

Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1988 I’ve always associated myself with the pride and courage of my Texan roots.  Being able to claim Benjamin Rush Milam, the man who drew the original line in the sand to ask for volunteers to defend the Alamo during the Seige of Bexar, shows the fortitude, strength of character and determination that has been instilled in my father’s family.  My mother’s side of the family taught me softer lessons but do not mistake them for weak lessons.  Just as the soft tensegrity structures I work with have the highest strength to weight ratios of any structure, so to do these lessons carry great importance in my life.  Weaving beauty, kindness and strength into a tapestry of personality able to encompass and adapt to the many different shapes life takes is my legacy from my mother’s family.

Benjamin Rush Milam (1788-1835)

If home is where the heart is then I will claim the entire world and bits of Mars.  Family from Greece to Sweden, the Caribbean to Las Vegas and many places in between, I am fortunate for the diversity of my family.  Among the open space of North Idaho I’ve made new family with my boyfriend Casey, his family, and our pets.  Charly, our Aussie shepherd, Slim Priklins, my pygmy hedgehog, and Land Captain, my genuine carnival-game-won goldfish live with Casey and I in a small house in the very small town of Smelterville, Idaho.

VZM.IMG_20150704_214706

Between San Antonio, Texas and Smelterville, Idaho there have been many different stops along the way.  I spent grades 7-12 in Evanston, Illinois attending Haven Jr. High and Evanston Township High School (GO WILD KITS!).  Afterwards I earned undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Hawaii at Hilo (GO VULCANS!). Travelling around China and Greece after graduation, I came back to the States and spent time in Las Vegas with my mom and Golden and Boulder, Colorado, with Casey until eventually moving to Idaho to start my Master’s of Engineering degree at the University of Idaho in Moscow (GO VANDALS!)

Mars Vandals
Congrats to all the Vnadals, can’t wait to graduate with too! Photo credit: Neil Scheibelhut

It was during my final semester at the U of I that I got the opportunity to take my Master’s project to Mars.  With a heavy heart I said goodbye to my family, friends, pets and partner and embarked on an 8-month simulated Mars mission with the HI-SEAS III Crew to act as Executive Officer to Commander Dr. Martha Lenio.  Once I had become the first person to graduate while on sMars (simulated Mars) and endure a soul changing 8-month isolation and confinement mission I returned home to Earth in a fantastic skydiving adventure, courtesy of the US Army’s Golden Knights.

I settled in to Smelterville with Casey and love the wide open spaces that easily fill my new desire for constant outdoor activities.  After 8 months in a dome with 5 other people I cherish the small town charm, the easy access to water, mountains and valleys, and the ability to easily travel more than a mile from home any time I want!

I currently work for SVL Analytical as an Analyst and Systems Engineer and the 500 ft commute to work gives me just enough time to enjoy the elk that live between my home and the lab.

Online CV

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