From art & science to exploring faraway worlds in augmented reality for NASA: Sasha Samochina explains why dreaming small and often helps you take those scary leaps into your ideal career.
Immersive Visualization Producer NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory © Foto: Lauren Crew
Aren’t you always supposed to “dream big”? Not really. Dreams, like life, should change with time. Sticking to only one big, specific goal can be daunting. Space is infinite and ever-expanding, and your goals should be too. If we skip over the list of goals I had as a child, which included but were not limited to: concert pianist, librarian and truck driver, we arrive in my high school years where I was playing music and had a plan to study biology at an Ivy League school.
A few weeks before university applications were due, my dream shifted and I applied to only art schools. I ended up choosing the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study film, video and new media. My first word of advice to anyone is to get an internship in the field that you’re interested in and/or studying right away. I worked at the Field Museum of Natural History as a media producer and that grew into my first job after graduation. That job allowed me to create real work in the real world.
The skillset I grew moved me to New York with a toolbox of expertise that was both: unique and practical. Practical may not seem like the most attractive word, but often times you have to prove those skills to keep moving in your career. My dream changed again in New York and I moved to Los Angeles for six months and I’m still here. I took a chance and applied online for a job at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in the media relations department. In my heart, I knew l would achieve this dream, and I did.
That first position crafted many skills and I jumped again, this time to my current position at JPL. I am an Immersive Visualization Producer, creating web and augmented reality experiences that help scientists and engineers complete their work more efficiently with the help of new technologies. You have to realize when it’s time for a change in your life. Let your tiny dreams morph into more tiny dreams. Keep changing and seeing new opportunities. Take the leap.