New Alumna Abigail Eccles, ’24, Has Her Sights Set on Space

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
New Alumna Abigail Eccles, ’24, Has Her Sights Set on Space

Congratulations to new Schmidt College of Science graduate Abigail Eccles, who crossed the stage on May 3. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in geosciences with a focus in geology. With one milestone behind her, Eccles plans to keep reaching for the stars.  

Eccles describes her academic journey in the Schmidt College of Science as both rigorous and enriching. During her undergraduate years, she had the incredible opportunity to intern at NASA, which sparked her passion to pursue a career in the space industry.  

“The experience was truly transformative, allowing me to apply my academic knowledge to real-world projects and collaborate with leading scientists and engineers,” shared Eccles. “I gained invaluable insights into space exploration, satellite technology, and scientific research on a global scale.”  

Abigail Eccles - NASA

In addition to her NASA internship, she collaborated with Professor Caiyun Zhang, Ph.D., Department of Geosciences, for the study, “Unmanned Aircraft System Photogrammetry for Mapping Diverse Vegetation Species in an Inland Wetland.” The project was a hands-on experience that sharpened Eccles’ skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. In addition, Eccles had the opportunity to speak about the project during the college’s annual Science Fest earlier this spring and share insights into their research and findings with attendees.  

“I discussed how using unmanned aircraft systems and photogrammetry techniques can effectively map and monitor various vegetation species in inland wetlands,” said Eccles. “It was a great experience to communicate our findings and methodologies to a diverse audience, sparking interest and discussions about our project.” 

Out of all her Florida Atlantic experiences, Eccles credits participating in the 2019 FAU GEOPATHS Summer Institute as a pivotal introduction to her academic journey. Before discovering GEOPATHS, she said that she was unaware of FAU’s Department of Geosciences. 

“The GEOPATHS program was a game-changer for me. The program not only exposed me to relevant courses, but it also allowed me to meet and connect with professors before enrolling in classes,” expressed Eccles. “I wholeheartedly recommend the GEOPATHS Summer Institute to any FAU student, as it offers invaluable opportunities to get a head start in their academic pursuits.” 

Eccles acknowledged that she was fortunate to have several mentors in the Schmidt College of Science who have played key roles in her academic journey. Her very first geology professor, Felicia Survis, Ph.D., an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Geosciences, not only introduced her to the subject, but also instilled confidence in Eccles’ ability to excel in this field. Additionally, Geosciences Senior Instructor James Gammack-Clark was instrumental in broadening Eccles’ horizons by introducing her to various projects and research opportunities. Abigail Eccles - NASA

“Both mentors have been incredibly important to me, offering encouragement, advice, and opportunities to grow both academically and personally,” stated Eccles. 

After graduation, Eccles is excited to continue her academic journey at the Colorado School of Mines, where she will study space resources. Her passion for space exploration and innovation motivated her to focus on this specialized field.  

“Ultimately, my career goal is to work with NASA or within the broader space industry, contributing to groundbreaking projects and advancements in space exploration and technology,” said Eccles. “I am eager to apply the knowledge and skills I acquire during my graduate studies to make meaningful contributions to the future of space exploration and resource utilization.” 

Tags: science

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Science offers unparalleled experiential learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of scientists and problem solvers.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd, SE-43
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Fax: (561) 297-3292