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Meet Brad Hegyi

September 01, 2022 SSAI in the News

This month we spotlight Bradley Hegyi! He hales from the Midwest, and has always had an interest in meteorology.  A nature-lover, he likes to spend time hiking, but he also appreciates being near a city with things to do. Thank you Brad, for letting us get to know you a little better. We are also hoping you will bring in some of those oatmeal cookies and let us be the taste tester for the crepes!

Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in northern Indiana, near the city of South Bend, IN. I went to Purdue University for my undergraduate studies, and to Georgia Tech for my graduate studies. 

What is your current role at work?
I have three different roles right now. First, I am part of the POWER team, specifically processing future climate projection data for NASA Langley to help predict future energy use for buildings within Langley. Second, I am science/data advisor for My NASA Data, a group focused on making NASA Earth science data accessible for teachers and students in grades 3-12. I curate our collection of data on our data visualization tool. I also help create and review scientific content for the website. Third, I am doing data analysis for planetary science research.

What excites you most about your work?
As you can see from the multiple roles I currently have, there is a lot of variety in what I am working on. Being able to work on these different projects is what is exciting about my work currently. 

If you weren’t working in the field you are right now, what other job would you be interested in trying?
If I wasn’t in atmospheric science, I would be an economist. I minored in economics in my undergraduate studies. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
When facing any unexpected disappointment or a big decision ask yourself: How will this affect my life 10 years from now? This really helps put things into perspective. This was advice from my mom. 

What did you want to be when you were a kid? 
I wanted to be meteorologist. I brought a weather map in from the newspaper for my first show and tell in kindergarten. Growing up in a place with very interesting weather, including lake-effect snow in the winter, was I think the reason that I wanted to study the weather.

Share something that not many of your colleagues might know about you.
I have a state championship ring… in academic Quiz Bowl. My quiz bowl team won the state championship in Indiana my junior year in high school. 

What is something you’ve done in your life that makes you feel accomplished?
Having a son, especially with him being born during the first year of the pandemic. 

What’s your dream vacation location, and what is it about that location that makes it so special to you?
Australia and New Zealand. It is a long plane ride to get to these places, but the people and nature are so unique in both of those countries. If I could live anywhere in the world it would probably be New Zealand. I like the more laid-back attitude and scenery there.

Tell us your favorite life hack.
Make your own cleaner for the kitchen from dish soap, water, and vinegar. It works better than most things that you can buy.

Have you learned anything new during the pandemic?
I learned how to be a better cook and baker. I learned how to bake a great batch of oatmeal cookies.  

Tell us a little about your family.

I have been married to my wife Andrea for almost six years. We have a son named Matthew who turns 2 in August. 

Please share your favorite go-to self-care tip that has helped you through the past couple of years.
Make an effort to get outside daily. Also, take time to know the area around you. Visit the outdoor spaces, restaurants, and other cool places in your neighborhood and city. 

What is something you’d like to accomplish this year?
I would like to perfect my technique making crepes. 

What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for the opportunities, triumphs, and disappointments that got me where I am today.

What is your happiest memory?
My wedding day. We got married on New Year's Eve in Williamsburg. We especially had a great reception and dinner. The weather was perfect for a late December wedding.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to be a contestant on the game show Jeopardy. I have tried out many times but haven’t made it yet. 

What makes you smile when you’re having a bad day?
Singing in the car with my favorite music blaring in the speakers. 

If you could time travel, what time period would be the first you’d want to visit and why?
I would go back to when life first appeared on Earth. There are so many questions about how the Earth’s atmosphere and surface looked like then, and how those conditions supported life.

What are you most looking forward to this year?
Seeing a lot of my extended family at our family reunion for the first time since before the pandemic. 

What do you with your spare time?
I like to hike, I picked this hobby up in graduate school and used to go hiking in the hills of northern Georgia as a stress reliever; and try new recipes in the kitchen. I also like playing in the backyard with our son, who is a toddler. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Passing the comprehensive examination to become a PhD candidate. It took at least 3 months of studying everything about atmospheric science. Perseverance and persistent studying was the key to passing the exam. 

What is the most interesting fact you know?
Only about 1% of all the water on Earth is fresh and not frozen in ice. It is crazy to think you can’t drink 99% of the water found on Earth. 

Anything else you’d like to share?
My last name means ‘from the hills/mountains’ in Hungarian.