Tashiana Osborne’s post-baccalaureate resume is beginning to bulge.
The fall 2014 hydrology and meteorology graduate was just days into her internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in suburban Washington D.C. when she was flown to San Diego in mid-February for a graduate school visit.
The offer Osborne says she is accepting: A fully-funded, five-year doctoral program in the Climate – Ocean – Atmosphere Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Part of her package includes the highly competitive San Diego Fellowship.
Founded in 1903, Scripps is one of the world’s oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research and education.
Osborne expects to start school this fall. But first, she’ll need to survive a dangerous summer.
In late May, Osborne joined the Boulder-based Center for Severe Weather Research for a multi-agency effort called Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN). She is chasing tornadoes on the southern Great Plains with atmospheric scientists such as Joshua Wurman, inventor of the Doppler mobile radar vehicle.
Osborne, who hails from White Bear Lake, credits Anthony Hansen, professor of atmospheric and hydrologic sciences, with helping jump-start her college career. During a campus visit at St. Cloud State, Osborne expressed concern about the math and physics demands of the meteorology program.
Hansen reassured her she would have support and that she would succeed.
“It helped so much to have mentors, advisers — people rooting for me,” Osborne said.
It was a staff member, Shahzad Ahmad, who opened her eyes to an array of St. Cloud State opportunities. The Multicultural Student Services director talked Osborne into a spring-break study trip to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. Later, when a National Science Foundation climate change field experience to the Bahamas was offered, Osborne grabbed at the opportunity.
Then, last summer, Osborne launched weather balloons and studied atmospheric gravity waves with another mentor, Brian Billings, adjunct instructor in the Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences Department.
“I always thought of college as an adventure and also a journey,” said Osborne.
Looking forward, that journey could lead the 23-year-old into government service with NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or, perhaps, a university teaching career.
For now, Osborne is adjusting to life on the 30-building, 10,000-worker NASA Goddard campus. One of two science journalism & multimedia interns in the communications office, Osborne does science writing for internal and external audiences.
Her first piece on the NASA Goddard website explains “Solarium” — floor-to-ceiling projections of solar imagery on exhibit at the visitor center. The projections document eruptions of burning gases up to 50-times the size of Earth.