Dr. Kessel received her BS in Physics from Baker University in 1978, followed by MS and PhD degrees in Physics from KU in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Since joining NASA she has developed a broad range of research interests that cross traditional discipline boundaries. Her work includes studies in many areas of heliophysics: interplanetary shocks, comets, and Sun-Earth connections spanning bow shock, magnetopause, and inner magnetosphere dynamics, and including reconnection, plasma entry, and space and ground-based ULF waves. Dr. Kessel is the Deputy Program Scientist for NASA's initiative called "Living With a Star" (LWS) which focuses on understanding and ultimately predicting solar variability and its diverse effects on Earth, human technology and astronauts in space. She is also Program Scientist for the LWS Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission launching in 2012 that will measure the properties of charged particles that comprise the Earth’s radiation belts, the plasma waves that interact with them, the large-scale electric fields that transport them, and the magnetic field that guides them. Dr. Kessel has also been very active in educational work, including a role as the writer/producer on a 28-minute educational film entitled The Milky Way's Invisible Light.