Missouri State University

Hayley Osman

  • Major: Physics
  • Hometown: Festus, Missouri

'By the time I applied for CERN, I had MIT and NASA on my resume'

'It was like a bunch of little kids who are just playing with very large, very expensive scientific toys.'

Watching “Apollo 13” as a child, physics student Hayley Osman told her dad she would be an astronaut. Believing in her potential, he continually reminded her that she could do it as long as she focused on math and science. Now, even though she no longer hopes to live the life of an astronaut, she sees that his advice paid off.

In the fall of her freshman year at Missouri State, she started researching in Dr. Saibal Mitra’s lab, and he connected her with internships at Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the next two summers. In the summer following her junior year, she interned for NASA on Missouri State’s campus.

“Of course, getting an internship at NASA was just unreal,” said Osman. “I thought my eight-year-old self would be very proud of that.”

She took a semester to study Spanish abroad in Salamanca, Spain. While there, she was selected as one of 15 American students to intern at CERN (just outside of Geneva, Switzerland) working on an experiment called ISOLDE (Isotope Separator Online Device).

For Osman, going to CERN was an eye-opening experience.

“I loved to see how the scientists are so passionate about their work. That was really one of the things I took away from the experience was how passionate everybody was and how curious,” she said.