Marissa Rosenberg grew up in Kenwood but is currently in the final year of her Ph.D. in astrophysics at University of Leiden in Holland. She received her master’s degree in space studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and received her undergraduate degree in astrophysics from UCLA.
So how did a little girl from Kenwood launch herself, almost literally into outer space? Hard work and a passionate interest in her subject area.
“I first got interested in space when I was 3 years old,” she said. “We visited a family friend in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and were there for one of the few night launches of the Space Shuttle. I watched the countdown on TV and felt the ground vibrate. I ran outside and the roar was deafening. I eventually saw the Space Shuttle pop out from above the tree line in their backyard. Ever since then, I have wanted to be an astronaut.”
Now 26, Rosenberg moved to Kenwood when she was 12 and attended Kenwood Elementary briefly before going to Rincon Valley Middle School and Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. Her parents, Rebecca and Gary Rosenberg, own the Sonoma Lavender Company.
A summer program at the Advanced Space Academy in Huntsville, Ala., when she was 15 crystalized her ambitions. “I met an astrophysicist who showed me images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and for the first time explained to me what astronomy actually is. I quickly realized this is what I wanted to study.” Five years later, in college, she returned to Huntsville to work at the NASA Academy.