Name: Laci Brock
Major: Interdisciplinary Physics and Planetary Sciences
Hometown: Brownsburg, Indiana
Even though no one in her family had gone to college before, Laci was determined to earn a college degree. But that was a challenge. Her high-school boyfriend, Adam Brock, died of leukemia just three months after they were married. Laci had a few stops and starts at other universities before enrolling at Purdue. Now she’s got her sights set on the stars — studying planetary sciences.
“I had to grow up really fast [because of Adam’s illness]. I had to take care of someone else. I look back on it and I wonder, how did I do that? I don’t know. I’m 25, so I’m older than a lot of my classmates. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to them because I’ve had such different experiences.”
“I got a telescope when I was 11, and I loved to look at the stars. I remember being outside when I was about 4 and just looking up at the sky. When it would storm, I would go outside when everyone else would go inside.”
“I got involved in research through Jay Melosh [Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences] who had a project he wanted me to work on, the Deep Impact Tempel 1 project, where I would analyze pictures. Now I’ve authored an abstract called “Impact Exchange of Materials Between Planets of Gliese 581.” [She presented the research at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March].
“My maiden name is Wooden, and my grandma told me that we are related to John Wooden [legendary basketball coach]. I never met him, but I feel a little connection when I park at the stadium by the street they named after him.”
“In addition to teaching in a lab at Purdue, I’m a volunteer storm spotter for Tippecanoe County Emergency Management and I am the president of the Purdue Meteorology Association. I also like to paint if I have time, and I like live music.”
By Kim Delker
Published April 2012
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