Scholarship Award Alumni - Shannon Gatta


Shannon Gatta

University of Washington
Bachelor of Science - 2020
2017 USRA Scholarship Winner

Shannon first found her passion for data science while on her deployment to Afghanistan in 2014 with the Army National Guard. She found an interest in intelligence analysis and saw what the impact of finding patterns in significant activity could mean for the safety of the soldiers in not only her unit, but their area of operations as a whole. Through data science, she was able to find a purpose that could save lives.

Shannon wanted to have a civilian career with the same kind of purpose and design. She merged her love for space exploration and passion for data science together in her career field. Shannon has focused on applying autonomous means to analyzing data, and has applied this to research in space radiation, aerodynamics testing data, predictive telemetry analysis for rockets, and data parsing for satellites.

After her deployment, she set out to accomplish her career goals by moving from a small town in Texas to Seattle in the hopes of attending the Informatics program at the University of Washington.

Before applying to UW, she restarted her schooling at Seattle Central Community College. She hadn't been to college in three years since before joining the military and saw the benefits in smaller class sizes, building close teacher relationships, and working with people that had unconventional walks of life like hers. It was only when she joined the Rocketry Club did she find a way to bring predictive analysis to engineering space exploration. She strived to find more ways data science could improve the way people approach the safety and accuracy of space travel, and how automating analysis on testing data gathered by subject matter experts could be used for more than just one answer and found at a quicker rate. This, in turn, brought her to research opportunities on a Weather Balloon with Seattle Central, a two-stage nine engine multi-cluster rocket and Husky Satellite Lab with the University of Washington, internships at NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Langley Research Center, all before receiving her Associates Degree.

Shannon reached the goal that she set out for herself three years earlier when she transferred into the Informatics Program at the University of Washington for Fall 2017. She plans to work at Stratolaunch as a Structural Engineer Intern through the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program in Spring 2018 and to begin her NASA Langley Pathways Co-Op in Summer 2018.