Fire sciences researcher at NASA with a passion for the environment, spatial data, and good design
My name is Zoey Armstrong and welcome to my site!
I’m a young professional that recently graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Geography. As a San Diego native moving out to the midwest was a big change for me. I was living in a much smaller town that didn’t even have a movie theater. This new lifestyle took some adjustment, but over time and through my courses I came to develop a fascination with the forests around campus. However, I also became painfully aware of all the invasive species taking over and how small and hemmed in these natural areas were.
Seeing this firsthand led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on conservation sciences. I was drawn to the practical solutions attainable with GIS and the seemingly limitless applications of geography. It wasn’t long before I was getting my Master’s degree in geography where I could continue learning and work to combine all these passions in my thesis. A conservation biogeography project that proved the possibility of using citizen science data to create a species distribution model in a much more time and cost-effective way compared to the traditional method.
With the success of my Master’s thesis, I graduated and eventually found a job at PYMNTS.com. During my year at PYMNTS, I acted as a senior data analyst and was the lead on over 20 client projects. I greatly progressed my skills with R and data visualization by spearheading the transition to automated data analysis and creation of figures on standard monthly surveys.
While I learned a lot and progressed my management and technical skills greatly at PYMNTS, I was lacking the fulfillment I got while working towards tackling environmental issues. So when my former committee member informed me of a position at NASA I took the opportunity and have been working there as a fire sciences researcher. Where I’ve been the project lead on creating an ESRI database and data collection workflow, resulting in enhanced communication among researchers and stakeholders dedicated to combating fire outbreaks. I’ve also been the sole geospatial team member on a case study of the Hermit’s Peak fire, collecting and creating data to examine the causes that led to the fire escaping the controlled burn.
And that takes us to the present where I’m looking forward to continuing developing my skills and knowledge in the environmental sciences. Outside of my professional life, I have a range of interests, including rock climbing, video games, photography, and table top games, which help to keep me balanced and energized.