Arya Udry

Associate professor in planetary science at the University of Nevada

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There is so much more to discover about our own world and beyond and many different ways to do it.

What do you do?

My job includes many tasks, but mostly I do research on meteorites to understand how the solar system has evolved through time (my favorite meteorites are from Mars), I mentor students, I teach classes from undergraduate (starting first year of college) to graduate students, and other things (for example, I am in charge of my department — the department of Geoscience — website).

Why did you choose this field?

I wanted to be an astronaut as soon as I remember and I was fascinated by space. I knew that to become an astronaut, being a scientist was the right route. At 15, I became really interested in the planet Mars: it is very similar to Earth and could have even have past life. At the time, I was a high school student in France and we had to take geology classes. This is when I thought that if I study martian meteorites, I could study the planet with having to wait for astronauts to go there. This is now what I do.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Being able to work on a daily basis on martian rocks seemed like a far-away dream as a teenager. I study geology at the university and moved to the US to do my Ph.D. to study these rocks at 22. It was not easy to move away from my friends and family, but it was worth it!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I get to work every day on samples that come from another planet to understand how this planet formed and evolved, including its volcanoes. How more exciting does it get? I also love working with my students in the lab and in my classroom.

Best advice for next generation?

There is so much more to discover about our own world and beyond and many different ways to do it. If a question or a topic inspire you, don't let anyone stop you pursuing a career in that field. And don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to be successful.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

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