Senior Scientist at Smart Data Solutions, LLC,
NASA's Planetary Science Division's Research & Analysis Program
Dr. Christina R. Richey is a Senior Scientist at Smart Data Solutions, LLC, working as a contract program officer for NASA's Planetary Science Division's Research & Analysis Program (NASA PSD R&A). She received her undergraduate degree in Physics at Wheeling Jesuit University in 2004.
She completed her Masters (2007) and PhD (2011) in Physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she did laboratory investigations related to both the icy moons of the outer solar system and the interstellar medium.
She joined Goddard Space Flight Center's Astrophysics Science Division (GSFC ASD) as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in 2011, where she studied the optical properties of dust grain analogs to better understand early stellar formation. She was also a participant of the NASA-Nordic Summer School and spent part of 2012 in Iceland, studying water, ice, and the origin of life in the Universe.
She has published her work in scientific journals (including The Astrophysical Journal) and has presented her research throughout the United States, as well as at several international conferences. In addition to her scientific activities, Dr. Richey has held several leadership positions and has actively engaged in education and public outreach opportunities.
Dr. Richey was previously a member of the Division for Planetary Science's Federal Relations Subcommittee, and a sitting member of the Women in Astrophysics at Goddard Roundtable Panel. She was President of the NASA Goddard Association of Postdoctoral Scholars and was Vice-President and a Member of the Board of Directors for the Scientists and Engineers for America UAB Chapter. She has represented GSFC's Astrophysics Science Division in several educational outreach activities, including being a guest scientist at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the B&A Trail's Planet Walk, and the Maryland Science Center. The outreach opportunity she is most proud of was a 2-day event hosted in her hometown, East Liverpool, Ohio, where she brought educational outreach activities to Westgate School in order to "bring NASA home."
She followed this up by giving the commencement speech at the 2012 East Liverpool High School graduation ceremonies. Her outreach work continued as a guest blogger for the GSFC ASD NASAblueshift blog. In her spare time, she is an avid jogger and an animal lover, and has fundraised money for charities working with animals (such as WWF and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary), as well as groups that provide funding for early detection methods to detect treat ovarian cancer (including Ovarian Cycle, the Norma Livingston foundation, the Laura Crandal Brown Foudnation, and the Birmingham Bombshells). She also participated in several outreach efforts in the greater Birmingham area, including development projects in lower-class communities with the Junior League of Birmingham, and disaster relief efforts with Helping Hands after the 2011 tornado outbreak. Dr. Richey was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Service to the Department and Community Award from the UAB Department of Physics.
In 2013, she joined Smart Data Solutions, LLC, and is located at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where she works supporting the PSD R&A. She is currently the contract Program Officer for the Cassini Data Analysis Program, the Exoplanets Research Program, and a Discipline Scientist for the Emerging Worlds Program.