Ollie Reisman, a senior at Marysville Arts and Technology High School, is planning to attend Western Washington University and study physics and astronomy. His ideal job would be as a research scientist for NASA. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

This Marysville student is on a path to be a NASA researcher

MARYSVILLE — Ollie Reisman, 17, is a senior at Marysville Arts and Technology High School. He got his grades back on track after freshman year and is now headed to Western Washington University with dreams of being a research scientist for NASA.

Question: What’s it like, knowing you’re almost done with high school?

Answer: It’s kind of scary. … I’m going to Western Washington University. I’m going to hopefully study physics and astronomy.

Q: What drew you to those fields?

A: In sophomore year, I was able to do a project on anything I wanted related to the physical sciences. I thought, “Space is kind of cool.” I ended up obsessing over it. I love it.

Q: What was your project?

A: Me and my best friend made a blog about the solar system, including all the planets, the sun, the Oort Cloud…

Q: Do you have an idea of what you’d like to do for a career?

A: I want to be a research scientist at NASA. I think it’d be cool to learn more about inhabiting Mars and how to make that happen.

Q: Were there other activities that helped spur this interest?

A: Last summer I did the STEM pathway program at Everett Community College. It kind of gave me a taste of what it’s like. We went to the MRO (Manastash Ridge Observatory) in Ellensburg. I took a picture of the Elephant nebula. It was pretty cool.

Q: What else keeps you busy?

A: I’m in drama club. I’ll be Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s going to be May 5th and 6th. I’m in the LGBTQ club here. It’s pretty cool. We haven’t done very many activities, but it’s something I go to.

Q: You’re in National Honor Society and taking college classes through Running Start. You must get pretty good grades?

A: They’re all right. My GPA is a 3.12, I think. I slacked freshman year. So I’m trying to make that up.

Q: What classes are you taking right now?

A: I’m taking English, pre-calculus, drama. I’m a lab tech for chemistry, I’m a (teacher’s assistant), and I take “Contemporary World Problems.” Next quarter I’m only going to be taking pre-calculus, drama and “Contemporary World Problems” because I’ll be taking English and history at the college.

Q: You also did sports?

A: I swim, and I used to dive. I did it for M-P (Marysville Pilchuck High School). I wasn’t as involved as I would have liked this year because I was pretty involved in drama. My goal was to swim in every event. There were only two I didn’t swim. So I’m pretty happy with how I did.

Q: Do you have a mentor or someone who’s inspired you?

A: Probably my swim coach, Coach Legore (Jaci Legore-Hodgins). Freshman year I showed up at the first practice and said, “Yeah, I don’t want to do this.” She called my mom and made me. I’m glad she did. She pushed me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with, and I’m glad she did.

Q: What do you do outside of school?

A: I work (at a pizza shop). It takes up a lot of my time. I’m trying to save up for college, and I like to have a little extra spending money.

Q: When you do have some free time, what do you like to do?

A: I like to hang out with my best friend and walk around town, watch movies or whatever.

Q: Do you have any siblings?

A: I have four older brothers. They’re all much older than me. For a lot of my childhood, I was kind of like an only child.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone entering high school?

A: Don’t goof off. You’re really going to regret it later. When I saw my GPA after freshman year, it was like, “I can’t keep doing that if I want to go to college.” So second semester sophomore year, I was really trying.

Q: What’s your dream for your life?

A: After college I want to work at NASA and make a life for myself. I’d love to be an astronaut, but that would be really difficult — and I’m afraid of planes, so I don’t think a rocket would be fun.

Melissa Slager: mslager@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3432.

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