Space, Allergies, and The Alamo
The Texas Story Project.
Dr. Kristie LLera, having been born and raised in Miami, Florida, made the move to Texas to pursue her graduate school in space physics.
Dr. LLera came to San Antonio, Texas in August 2011, for an opportunity to continue to do what she loves. She got accepted into a fellowship for the joint UTSA and SWRI Graduate program in physics, with Space Physics and Instrumentation, but this was just the beginning of her new life in Texas. After completing this program, she was offered a post-doctoral research position and then two years later went on to become a research scientist at SWRI, where she works in the Space Science and Engineering Division. She was among only a few other people who got to transition from being a SWRI/UTSA student to a SWRI employee. This is where she conducts research on how solar winds interact with other celestial bodies. Along with working at Southwest Research Institute, Dr. LLera is also a physics lab professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. While being a space scientist is amazing by itself, Dr. LLera is also a West Coast swing dancer. She started this hobby here in Texas, upon graduating when she joined the West Coast Swing Club, where she is the Vice President. Another way she spends her free time is by doing volunteer work around San Antonio. She said it was a great way to get involved in the community and she loved surprising people by being bilingual.
When Dr. LLera first moved to San Antonio, she said that one of the biggest surprises for her were the allergies and how much they even affected the locals. When she went to the doctor for symptoms that tended more to depression, she was told that severe allergies can have that effect on people, even if they aren’t allergic to anything in the air, it can still overwhelm their bodies that much. She wasn’t having any of that, though, so a dedication to allergy medication and other remedies and she was good to go. Even with the bad allergies, she acknowledges that the nature and scenery that can be found around here is quite beautiful. She said not to be afraid of mother nature and that she recommends people to venture outside and find some hiking trails to appreciate the scenery. Dr. LLera also admitted that she did not know The Alamo was located in San Antonio. To be fair, she thought it was in Austin, so she wasn’t too far off. This mistake may seem like a sin to a native Texan, but to a newcomer it’s just a start to all of the history Texas has to offer. Therefore, Dr. LLera dedicated some of her time to start studying Texas history.
Dr. LLera stated that most of her best memories of Texas come from her career. Two main things she wants people to know about Texas are remembering to take your allergy medications and to “Remember the Alamo,” especially knowing where it is located. She loves inspiring future generations of scientists by sharing her story. She wants the younger generations to know that everyone has a specific and unique strengths for a reason and to not be deterred in developing whatever strength you have. Her advice is to embrace that strength and pursue your hobbies regardless if you think you’re not gifted in that field because there are so many different ways to contribute to every field. For example, in Space research there needs to be lawyers, editors, engineers, artists, scientists, teachers and much more. Even if you are only taking tiny steps towards your ultimate goal, you are doing more than you think you are.
Olivia DeSilvester is a freshman at St. Mary’s University and is an engineering science major with a focus of biology. Her plans for the future are to become a biomedical engineer. In her spare time, she likes to sew and play video games.
Posted March 03, 2020
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