DEVELOP Alumni Spotlight
Meet Luke Quattrochi—naturally curious, eager to learn, and always looking to connect the dots that make up the world around us. Luke came to NASA DEVELOP from the defense sector, where he had been mapping trade routes. While the two positions have their differences, they both involve extensive use of geographic information systems (GIS), and that’s exactly what brought Luke to DEVELOP.
Growing up, Luke had a variety of interests in different areas, and when he discovered the ranging applications of GIS, he pursued it as a means to explore his broad range of interests. Along the way, he found that his experience in different fields was beneficial because applications learned in one role helped him succeed in his next role. In other words, he began tailoring what he wanted out of a career by using GIS to connect the dots.
At DEVELOP, Luke applied his GIS skills as a spring 2020 Lambayeque Water Resources team member at Langley Research Center, working with Fressia Bechard, Jared Kelly, and Jay Oliver. Luke had three goals when he started the project: 1) to gain more technical experience using GIS and remote sensing, 2) to build networking skills, and 3) to improve his cartography and Python skills. Luke worked toward all of those goals on the Lambayeque Water Resources team, studying hydrologic trends in Northwestern Peru to help inform tree mortality in coastal mesquite forests. Not only did he accomplish his goals by the end of the project, but he also gained “a sense of confidence that I could tackle these more complex issues in a professional environment."
"I could work with [these] complex issues and communicate with scientists who have been in the field for decades."
— Luke Quattrochi, DEVELOP ALUMNI
Luke emphasized that one of the most valuable things he learned at DEVELOP was the importance of having clear lines of communication between all people involved in the project. This skill went hand-in-hand with his goal of networking. After DEVELOP, while working on his Master’s at the University of Maryland, Luke connected with a peer through which he learned of a job opening that he would later accept at Maxar Technologies. Months later, when another job on his new team became available, Luke reconnected with his former DEVELOP team about the opening and soon found himself working on a team with Fressia again!
Given the central role networking played in Luke’s career after DEVELOP, Luke’s primary piece of advice for DEVELOPers starting their first term was to focus on communication and networking, noting that not only are they two of the most important aspects you can get out of the program but that they will also transfer to whatever the next facet of your life may be. And when you’re wrapping up your final DEVELOP project, Luke’s final piece of advice was to take a moment to realize what you just achieved. Be proud of your work and your ability to grow through it because that self-confidence will also support you throughout the rest of your career.