COSAM News Articles 2020 October Physics alumna and NASA researcher inspires future scientists

Physics alumna and NASA researcher inspires future scientists

Published: 10/20/2020

By: Maria Gebhardt

During World Space Week 2020, Auburn alumna Jamesa Stokes ’14 shared her story from Auburn University to NASA where she researches materials for spaceflight.

This Atlanta native graduated with her undergraduate degree in physics from the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) in 2014. While at student at Auburn, she traveled to Germany in 2012 through a Gilman scholarship.

She then received a Fulbright scholarship and traveled to Stuttgart, Germany in 2014-2015 to conduct high temperature research at the German Aerospace Center Institute of Structures and Design. The experience helped her decide to earn a doctoral degree in Materials Science and Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2019.

Stokes is now a civil servant at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She works in the Environmental Effects and Coatings branch as a materials research engineer where she helps develop materials to protect people, hardware, and spacecraft in extreme environments.

As a NASA researcher, she spends her day working on synthesizing and characterizing high temperature materials. She also devotes time to writing manuscripts, developing presentations for conferences and attending meetings.

Stokes gave advice to students when applying to potential internships.

“Don’t be afraid to gain experience that may not be specifically related to the long-term career you want,” she told participants in a new speaker series via Zoom.

Stokes was the first guest on October 6 for the new virtual forum, C3 – COSAM Career Conversations, to help current students learn from alumni.

“I didn’t know all of my experiences would lead me to developing materials to be safer in space,” Stokes added.

After Stokes spoke to the group, she answered questions and shared insight and advice to inspire current students to pursue a career in STEM. 

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