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SSAI Spotlight Christopher Begeman

May 04, 2023 SSAI Spotlight Series, SSAI in the News

Our first May Spotlight is Chris Begeman. Working out of Colorado, Chris recently learned that he loves to hike and spend time in nature, though water skiing is definitely not on his list of hobbies! He is passionate about learning and knowing his work will help make the world a better place; he’s also excited to be supporting NASA. He’s appreciative of the advice and support from his family that got him where he is today; and has some controversial views on pizza toppings. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about yourself Chris!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on a ranch located on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation outside a tiny town called Martin, SD. Growing up in the middle of nowhere gave me an appreciation for all the little things in life and has given me the confidence that I can live anywhere except maybe the inside of a volcano. 

What is your current role at work?
My current role in SSAI is research scientist with the goal of quantifying and correcting adjacency effects from satellite images.

What excites you most about your work?
If I had to choose one thing, it’s knowing that the content I work on now can and will be used by future scientists to help better our planet. 

What excites you about supporting our customers? 
Growing up I was always fascinated with space. The stars, the planets, light, it all fascinated me. Supporting NASA is like a dream come true, and now that I get to work alongside all these brilliant scientific minds, I am most excited about all the new skills and information I’ll learn. 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever received was from my grandfather and it was, “Listen first, talk second”. This advice has helped me develop as a person and foster healthy relationships in both my personal and professional life. 

What got you on the path to where you are now? 
My parents started me on this path to accomplishment, my grandparents supported me in everything along the way, and the college professors really pushed me to be the best professional I am today. Without any of those people I would not be the professional I am today. 

What was the best vacation you ever had?
The best vacation I’ve ever taken was to universal studios in Orlando, FL. I am a big Harry Potter nerd and getting to see the Hogwarts castle and a fire breathing dragon while drinking a butter beer was a dream come true. 

What is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby recently is hiking. Living out here in Colorado I have been able to experience some of the most amazing views atop some of Colorado’s highest peaks. I picked this hobby up within the last year and hope to see more breathtaking views this coming summer. 

Tell us your favorite life hack.
The best life hack I’ve experienced so far must be for when you’re boiling spaghetti. To keep the water from boiling over, you can just put a wooden stirring spoon on the pot, the water wont overflow onto the stove top. Changed my life. 

Is there anything you have tried that you will never do again?
One time I went water skiing and failed so miserably that water went straight up my nose, down my throat, and caused a bruise. Safe to say, I probably won’t be trying that sport again. 

What incredibly strong opinion/belief do you have that is completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
Pineapple does not belong on pizza, and nothing will change my mind about that. 

What is the one thing that can instantly make your day? 
My day is made when a stranger lets me pet their dog on the street as I’m walking by them. I currently don’t have any pets living with me but miss my family pets, so whenever I get the chance to interact with animals my day is instantly made. 

What is the one thing it’s worth it to spend more on to get the best?
Shaving razors and toilet paper. I learned long ago that those two things are worth the extra money. 

What is your favorite subject to talk about?
The television show Avatar the Last Airbender. It was my favorite show growing up, I’ve seen every episode at least 3 times, and I could go on and on about the wonderful life lessons that the show can teach for both kids and adults. 

What is your favorite family tradition?
Every Thanksgiving weekend starting on Friday through Sunday my family bakes literally hundreds of Christmas cookies. These cookies are then split between the different families. It’s a large ordeal and a family weekend that I look forward to every year. 

What is something you feel is underrated?
Ham with applesauce on top. Separately both are great foods but combined they are one of the best food combinations out there. 

What would be the perfect day for you?
The perfect day for me would be a hike through the forest or mountains during the day, followed by an evening on the beach, and then topping it off with a nice steak dinner. 

What is the most interesting fact you know? 
When I was in middle school there was a teacher’s aid in our class who bragged about the amount of random trivia knowledge he knew. His fun fact was that big cats such as lions roar but can’t purr due to an extra bone in their throat, and that fact is forever embedded in my memory.