2007 PHS Alumna Visits Classes to Discuss Career in Deep Space Exploration

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Coralie Jackman, a 2007 PHS alumna, visited PHS classes to discuss her career in space exploration.

Coralie Jackman, a 2007 PHS alumna, visited PHS classes to discuss her career in space exploration.

Coralie Jackman, a 2007 Palatine High School alumna, recently returned to PHS to discuss her career in deep space exploration with students.

Jackman is a deep space navigator for KinetX Aerospace, an engineering, technology, software development and business consulting firm specializing in aerospace systems. She recently visited PHS engineering and astronomy classes to discuss her work on various missions that explored deep space.

“I was in all the clubs when I was here, and I loved this school,” she said. “It’s really fun to come back to talk to the students and try to inspire them. There are always a few students who are really interested in this field. Talking to them one-on-one is interesting because I can see a spark when they see the passions they are starting to discover can be realized.”

Although her job has many different functions, she uses optical navigation to help graph missions in deep space using images taken from a spacecraft. This determines where the spacecraft is and where it needs to go for its mission. While she visited PHS, students asked questions about missions she has worked on, as well as what it’s like working in her field every day.

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While she visited PHS, students asked questions about missions she has worked on, as well as what it’s like working in her field every day.

Students also asked how she discovered her passion and turned it into a career. She told students that she became very interested in the topic during freshman year of high school and got involved. She joined clubs and immersed herself in the subject, which made it an easy transition while choosing her path after graduation.

“I tell students to follow their interests, do what they find interesting and see where that takes them,” she said. “Don’t just follow the mold and do what is expected, because when you are passionate about something your work is fun.”

She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder, and plans to visit PHS when she is back in town.