both engineering and mathematics at Olivet, Heather (Bachelor) Makarewicz’07 fulfilled
a life-long dream by working at NASA.
She began her internship with NASA the summer before her senior year at ONU.
While completing her master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Kansas,
she was accepted into a fellowship program, researching the mineral content of
the surface of Mars.
After spending three summers there, Heather was hired on as a research
assistant at the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP), where she worked for a year.
From a young age, Heather was fascinated with the space program and wanted to
be an astronaut.
“I was very interested in astronomy and geology, as well as the design and
development of space shuttles,” she says. “In middle school, I researched the
careers of many astronauts. At that point, I decided I wanted to be an engineer
and someday work for NASA.”
Even before graduating from college, Heather achieved her goal — but not
without the help of the rigorous and supportive academic community at Olivet
“The combination of engineering and math was a solid background for my research
with NASA. It combined math, science, engineering and computer
programming. My background at Olivet
gave me the ability to tackle this kind of project.”
Now back at Olivet as an adjunct professor,
Heather counts it a privilege to work among mentors. She cites math professors Dr. Atkinson and
Dr. Hathaway as two instructors who made an especially profound impact on her
Heather is also wife to ONU engineering professor Joseph Makarewicz, and mom to
their two kids, Scarlette (2 ½) and Berenger (10 months).
Heather is being recognized for her achievements this coming November as
recipient of the ONU Young Alumni Award during Olivet’s annual Homecoming