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Practical and Imaginative

The career of Lisa Danielson, the Graduate College Alumnua of the Year, took off like a rocket after UNLV.

People  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  By Brian Sodoma

Lisa Danielson, 2017 Graduate College Alumna of the Year. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services)

Editor's Note: 

The UNLV Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates at its annual reception and awards ceremony April 26. For a full list of honorees and event details, visit the alumni awards website


Lisa Danielson, ’98 MS Geoscience, works for Jacobs Technology at NASA Johnson Space Center. She is the manager of basic and applied research for the Johnson Space Center Engineering, Technology and Science contract, or JETS. She is developing a unique experimental facility called CETUS (Community Extreme Tonnage User Service). She also travels to universities and scholarly meetings to recruit students for internships within her division.


Why I’m a proud graduate of UNLV …

My UNLV education marks the start and foundation of my professional science career, because the things I learned and the activities carried out in the department, were both practical and imaginative.

My mentors encouraged me to pursue topics of interest, even in planetary science which was outside of the normal department curriculum. I learned all the basics of running a laboratory safely and with proper procedures, which directly led to my first full-time job as a lab manager. I practiced writing proposals and defending my work, which made me even more well-prepared for a Ph.D. than many of my fellow incoming students.

I’m especially proud to see planetary science growing in recent times to the extent that I can now promote UNLV as a graduate school for planetary science studies to our undergraduate interns, as well as recruit UNLV students for internships within my department and division.