Fishsticks – Meet Jessica Sutter

Hello MVMers, here is another edition of Fishsticks (otherwise known as get-to-know-your-fellow-swimmers). Meet Jessica Sutter. She’s the person to go to if you have any questions about astronomy! Or backpacking.

Where were you born? Portland OR

Where did you grow up? Portland OR

What schools did you go to? Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA for undergrad with a major in astrophysics and University of Wyoming for my PhD (which is technically in physics, but mostly focused in astronomy).

What job(s), career did you have when you finished school? I’m sort of still working on this! I’m currently a postdoc at the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) working on analyzing infrared data from nearby galaxies. SOFIA is cool since it’s a telescope on an airplane, and can see parts of the electromagnetic spectrum no other operational observatory can. I’m hoping to eventually end up as a professor at a smaller college in the west though! I got to test this out working as a visiting professor at Whitman College for a semester in 2020 and had so much fun!

What are some fun facts about you that we wouldn’t know. I’m very into long-distance backpacking. I’ve done (most of) the Washington section of the Pacific Crest Trail as well as some backpacking in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, and Tasmania. I’m hoping to get more 400+ mile adventures in my future! I also have a very good cat named Levi who I take on walks on a harness. He puts up with it pretty well and it makes me feel better about letting him outside without potential harm to the local wildlife.

What time do you normally swim? 6AM on most weekdays. I’m usually in lane 6-ish

Picture from my first triathlon. This was pre-event, so I don’t look completely dead yet 😅 And a slightly nicer photo of me skiing in happy jack outside of Laramie WY

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