On my fifteenth birthday in the fall of 2003, I made a wish and blew out the candles on my cake not knowing that my life would be changed from that moment and thereafter. When I proceeded to open the gifts that evening I found myself staring at a rather large object decorated in wrapping paper. Upon opening the layers of paper it was to my astonishment that a backyard telescope was inside. It was not what I wished for, but excitement enveloped me in such a way that I had to look through it right then and not a moment later. My brother assisted me with the instructions once we were outside, with a bright moon overhead. The Moon's craters were revealed to me in such a way that I had never imagined.
That night was a night of transformation. Leading up to that evening, my interests were solely paleontological as far back as I could remember. As I looked at more and more objects with my new telescope, my interests turned toward the sky and left my paleontological passion as fossilized as what it researches. The décor in my bedroom dramatically changed from ancient creatures to heavenly bodies, dozens of celestial books, and more. I began to self-educate myself in the astronomical sciences, and jumped head first into the deep physics and its theoretical branches. Upon my high-school graduation I bought my very own telescope (Orion AstroView 6 EQ Reflector) and found myself looking through it nearly every night.
My college plans were to attend UNR and take the major of Geological Engineering because of my existing familiarity with geology, along with its locality being only 2 hours from my home and my telescope. I bought many supplies for my telescope, my favorite being the Orion StarShoot II DeepSpace CCD Camera. The first day that I took pictures with my camera I looked at the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter, the Ring Nebula, and the Whirlpool Galaxy. When the image I had taken of the Whirlpool Galaxy appeared on my computer screen, I knew that I wanted to continue this astronomy experience until the end of my days. Since then I have looked at or imaged nearly all of the Messier Objects, many star clusters, galaxies, nebula, and the planets in our solar system.
It is my plan to finish my BS in Geological Engineering at UNR. Afterward, I am hoping to find a suitable institution to continue my passion for astronomy and push it as far as the sky itself. In the long term, it is now my dream to be a part of NASA and everything they endeavor. My most memorable astronomy experience is the path I made toward astronomy itself. Now that my birthday is coming up once more this fall, 6 years after my first telescope, I remind myself of everything I've accomplished and seen thus far through astronomical science, and that passions can literally change overnight.