Jia Achebe

Jia Achebe

We’ll be connected on Mars in no time flat!Dr. Pilar Hau

Back story

I didn’t like most popular things in high school like sports or cheerleading or stuff like that. But I liked math and radios and comic books. My friends teased me a little bit but I think they just weren’t as comfortable with themselves as I was with myself.

The summer after I graduated high school a bunch of us went on a hiking trip out in the forest. We wound up in this big, deep valley in the middle of nowhere.That would have been fine until a girl on the trip fell down a hill and really hurt her leg. Our phones had no signals and we couldn’t reach anyone for help. Even my “nerdy” walkie-­‐talkie didn’t work. The signal kept bouncing off of the steep valley walls.

Everyone panicked and thought we were doomed! But I knew there had to be something we could do. If the valley walls were blocking my signal, then I needed to get above the valley walls. After doing a little math to make sure of the height and signal angles, I climbed a fire tower in the forest and re-­‐transmitted my call for help. I got through!

Pretty soon an emergency rescue crew found us and helped the injured girl. All thanks to my “nerdy” interests. I still got teased sometimes, but I didn’t care. I’d saved a life! And these days? People admire me. And why wouldn’t they? I’m awesome.

Character Q&A

The summer after I graduated high school a bunch of us went on a hiking trip out in the forest. A girl fell and hurt her leg and we couldn’t call for help because our phones had no signal. But by remembering what I learned in math class about angles I realized we could get a signal by calling from a higher place. And it worked! I’ve loved math and data communication ever since.
I’m responsible for data communication, either on the Mars Base Provenance or between Mars and the earth. You see, the design and maintenance of communication system is critical to effective and efficient distribution of information. My work has allowed people on Mars to communicate with one another more easily.
I love it that I get to spend my time doing what I have loved since I was a kid. And so many people are thankful that I reduced the time it takes to call Earth. I know I’m making a positive difference in the solar system. Maybe one day I’ll discover a way to make instant calls between Earth and Mars!
Without a doubt, my most memorable experience is how I was chosen to be the data communication specialist on the Mars Base Provenance. You know when the rover sends data to the orbiter or to the Mars Base, it consumes energy. The further away it is from the orbiter or the base, the more energy it consumes, because it has to “yell” to make itself heard. When I was still a student, I proposed an idea of an energy-saving plan that doubled the rover’s communication ability! I was promoted the data communication specialist on Mars Base to assist their scientific work. I can never forget how excited I was when my passion, knowledge and efforts got noticed!
Since I was little, I have been very interested in the electronic appliances in our house. The radio was my favorite, although I was a bit abusive to it because I was breaking it down and reassembling it all the time. Luckily, my family was very supportive. They encouraged me to pursue my interest with radios. I did very well in science courses and that really laid the foundation for me to further study communications in space.
In addition to a firm understanding of technical requirements, I would suggest those who are interested in becoming a communications specialist work on your communication skills. The basic rule in this field is: “First, listen.” The people around you are filled with useful knowledge that can help you succeed at anything!
TitleCommunications Specialist
What I DoWork with scientists and engineers to design, install and maintain communication systems on Mars Bases
EducationB.S. Mathematics
M.S. Telecommunications Studies
SkillsVoice transmission, cellular capabilities, data communication, cable-to-modem communication, and satellite communication capabilities
InterestsReading comic books
Assembling electronic devices