NASA People

Center Snapshot: Cory Scott
Cory Scott. Image above: Cory Scott adjusts Pandora, an instrument that measure nitrogen dioxide at the CAPABLE site at NASA Langley. The site is a collaboration between NASA and the DEQ and serves as a location for monitoring air quality and other atmospheric conditions. Photo Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Jennifer Collings

As Cory Scott picks up speed, wind whips against his face and he can hear the whirr of his bicycle tires on the pavement. The faster he goes, the clearer his mind gets.

Scott appreciates the time to think. Like his bike on the open road, his life is fast-paced and has a few optional turns ahead. He is spending his second year at NASA Langley as a LARSS (Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars) student. Scott is working with Margret Pippin in the Science Directorate, doing atmospheric research relating to ozone and boundary layer height. While Scott enjoys atmospheric sciences, his other passion is cycling.

"I always enjoyed watching the Tour de France every July, but it wasn't until three years ago that I bought a bike and started to ride," he said.

Running in high school and during his first year of college gave Scott training in physical endurance, and he began racing bikes as a sophomore at the College of William and Mary.

"From there the challenges to compete at higher levels grew every year. I guess I got faster every year because now I am a 'Cat 1' cyclist," says Scott. Cyclist rankings range from Category 5, a novice cyclist; to Category 1, a professional.

In March, Scott was contracted by Richmond Pro Cycling to ride. In May, he became the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships winner.

Scott rides about 300 miles a week. This requires him to squeeze in about 15-17 hours of training, on top of his internship at Langley. His team travels to races almost every weekend. Aside from working and biking, Scott also enjoys sketching.

"If for some reason I do have spare time, I love to grab some paper and charcoal, put on music and go to town," Scott said.

Despite the hectic schedule, Scott plans to finish out this season and see where his cycling career takes him.

"Cycling is an unpredictable sport, and I’m not sure what will happen. It is always good to have a back-up plan," said Scott as he tells a story about a teammate who separated his shoulder last month, putting him out for the rest of the season.

Scott has degrees from William and Mary in neuroscience and kinesiology and health sciences. If cycling doesn’t work out, he plans a career in physical therapy.

"It's a tough decision because part of me wants to get my life rollin', and the other part of me wants to keep my life rollin' on the bike," explains Scott. "You're only young once, so I'm weighing the odds."