August 23, 2017

Q&A with Dr. Dalia Kirschbaum, Research Physical Scientist at NASA Goddard 

Posted by cbunge


Women’s Equality Day is August 26th! To celebrate, AGU will be highlighting several prominent women working in Earth and space science. We’ll be posting Q&A’s on The Bridge and to our various social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram! 

Today’s featured scientist is Dr. Dalia Kirschbaum. Dr. Kirschbaum is a Research Physical Scientist in the Hydrological Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University with a focus in Natural Hazards and Remote Sensing. She received her A.B. in Geosciences from Princeton University. 

Who or what has inspired you to pursue your research?  

I have been very fortunate to have a series of excellent teachers, professors and mentors that have helped guide me in to this career path. Through high school, college, graduate school and as a post-doc I have learned valuable lessons on both how to pursue and structure a career in science as well as what gaps exist in current research disciplines that may be new avenues for study.  

Did you have any important mentors in your career, and how did they impact you?   

I have had several influential people that I have looked to for inspiration, drawing insight from how they have shaped their own scientific fields and how they also balance their work life with their home life. Being able to maintain the balance of scientific research, leadership and mentoring, and raising a family is not always the easiest. Having people to look up to that lead by example helps to provide me with a healthy perspective on how I can also make it work.   

Do you have a favorite photograph from your career? If so, would you share it with us and tell us why it is important to you?  

My favorite work picture is attached. This is me suited up in the clean room at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in front of a fully assembled Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory space craft. This picture was taken shortly before the satellite was sent to Japan and launched into space on an HII-A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center. The reason this is a significant picture is to underscore the value and effort (well over a decade in the making) in developing satellite-based missions and the tremendous societal benefit they can have. The GPM mission is an international effort, co-led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, provides near real-time precipitation information everywhere around the world every 3 hours. This data is currently being used to improve weather forecasting, better understand landslide occurrence, advance crop forecasts and even better characterize the potential spread of diseases like cholera and malaria.  


Thank you to Dr. Kirschbaum for her time and answers!