Reaching for the Stars IS an Option: A Conversation


Reaching for the Stars IS an Option: A Conversation

About the Speaker

Dr. Cassandra Runyon graduated from the University of Hawai'i in 1988 with her Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics. Following graduation, she was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Johnson Space Center. Her research focused on understanding the nature and origin of volcanic features on the terrestrial planets. Later, as an employee of POD Associates, she used laboratory and remote sensing data to interpret and model near-Earth space debris for the National Space Council and the Department of Defense. This research helped to better understand the effects of space debris on various spacecraft materials. As a Faculty Fellow working with her colleagues at NASA Johnson Space Center, Cass helped to explore and define the initial field requirements for future human-robotic missions to the Moon and Mars. Later, after joining the College of Charleston faculty, her research used hyperspectral and multispectral data and imagery to model stressed terrestrial environments including coastal wetlands, precision farming and disturbed ground to assess urban/suburban change to South Carolina’s coastal wetlands through field reconnaissance, remote sensing, and GIS. She continues to work with NASA as a science team member and education and public engagement (E/PE) lead for the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectrometer onboard Chandrayaan-1, which discovered water on the Moon!

She is currently an Associate Professor of Geology at the College of Charleston, Director of the NASA SC Space Grant Consortium and SC NASA EPSCoR program and the education/public engagement lead for two NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) teams. Her passion is helping to provide access to STEM for all audiences, including those with visible and invisible disabilities.


Download Reaching for the Stars IS an Option: A Conversation (PPT) (28.4 MB)


Have you or someone you know ever dreamed of doing something big - perhaps starting a business or working for the aerospace industry and/or NASA? You (they) can. Have you or someone you know been challenged by a visible or invisible disability thinking it may be a career-breaking barrier that may not be overcome? You (they) can! The old adage, 'where there is a will, there is a way' is true! Recognizing, understanding, and being willing to work through - and with - life’s challenges along the way is paramount. As an educator, employer, or friend, we can help to facilitate and include those with exceptional needs so that reaching for their star career choice is an option.

Publication Date



Grand Forks, ND

Reaching for the Stars IS an Option: A Conversation