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Karl Edquist

Where are you from?

I was born in Northern California and grew up in Littleton, Colorado. After having lived in Colorado for over 30 years, I moved to Virginia in 2000 to start working at NASA.

What motivated you to work for NASA?

I have always had an interest and affinity for math and science, so NASA was natural fit for me. My dad worked for Lockheed and Martin Marietta, and his stories about what he was working on inspired me. I was able to work two summers at Martin Marietta and I enjoyed that experience very much. I also knew people who worked at NASA and it sounded like something I wanted to do as well.

Who inspired you?

Within my family, my parents and siblings have always supported my goals. My father worked in the aerospace industry for his entire career, so he was the first inspiration for a similar career path. My paternal grandmother was always very encouraging and inspiring with her generosity from childhood through adulthood.

What is your role on HIAD, and what are your responsibilities?

My role is the lead for Next Generation Subsystems. I am also leading a new start proposal for Entry Capsule Trim Tabs.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

My favorite moment so far was watching the final night launch of the Space Shuttle in 2010. I was given the opportunity to go see the launch with my wife through NASA's Space Flight Awareness program. The experience of seeing and hearing the launch is something I will never forget.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

I would tell them to not be afraid of pursuing their dreams, to talk about them with their family and friends, and to find teachers and peers who will support them. I would also encourage them to pursue math and science classes in school, as well as internships during high school and college.

What do you do for fun?

Being from Colorado, I enjoy the outdoors very much, including hiking and camping. Taking my dog for a walk is always fun for me. I have always enjoyed participating in sports and still play golf and basketball in the NASA leagues. I also play Ultimate Frisbee in a local league; I started playing while I was at the University of Colorado years ago. Around the house, I recently started getting into woodworking projects. My wife and I have fun dining at our favorite local restaurants.

If you were talking to a student interested in science and math or engineering, what advice would you give them?

I would tell them not to be discouraged if they ever find themselves struggling with difficult subjects. I would suggest that they find specific math and science disciplines that they enjoy and to seek out teachers and peers who can support them.