Alumni Profile: Astronaut Richard R. Arnold II

November 10, 2016
NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold looks to the camera during his visit to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Current employer: NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Degree: Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences (MEES), Master of Science, 1988
Lab: Horn Point Laboratory
Advisor: William Dennison

What do you do in your current job? I currently support onboard operations of the International Space Station. Specifically, I am responsible for the safe execution of space walks and robotics operations.

What inspires you about your work? I work with an incredible international team that plans and executes some of the most complicated things that humans do—all in the name of science and exploration.

How has your higher education prepared you for your career?​ My experience at UMCES reflected the values of high-achieving organizations, where creative problem-solving, teamwork, and reality-based solutions are required to be a successful employee.

What was the most important lesson attributable to your higher education? The importance of relationships and investing in other people. I am incredibly thankful for the amount of time and energy that the faculty at UMCES invests in their students.

What’s your advice for current and prospective students? Pay attention to the forks in the road you will encounter in life. If you have your head down too often, you'll miss those intersections and the amazing and, at times, unlikely places they'll lead you.

Arnold visits Appalachian Laboratory students

Ricky Arnold recently visited UMCES' Appalachian Laboratory before talking about his experiences on the International Space Station at his undergraduate alma mater, Frostburg State University. Read the story