Elizabeth Gabler, a Sac State graduate who has worked on NASA missions, receives Rising Star Award
October 19, 2023
Elizabeth Gabler ’19 (Physics) has spent most of her life looking up at the cosmos, and much of her career furthering missions to explore outer space.
There may not be a Hornet alum who is more qualified to receive the Sacramento State Alumni Association’s Rising Star Award.
Gabler is a physicist and engineer who has been named one of the world’s top young scientists. She is a neutron radiographer at McClellan Nuclear Research Center, where she has worked on NASA’s Artemis project, among other endeavors.
While a Sac State student, she worked on NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) project, which successfully crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid to redirect it. In November, she will begin working on the Artemis 4 rocket.
“Working for NASA and the Department of Defense is what I love doing, and it’s what I’ve been focusing on, so being honored for being passionate about my work is quite special.” -- Elizabeth Gabler
The Rising Star Award, one of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, is given to a recent graduate of Sacramento State who has made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community, or to the University.
“I was shocked when I was told I was getting the award,” Gabler said. “Working for NASA and the Department of Defense is what I love doing, and it’s what I’ve been focusing on, so being honored for being passionate about my work is quite special.”
With her career on a rocket-like trajectory, Gabler remains connected to her alma mater. She has been involved with the Sac State Planetarium since its 2019 opening – she designed the popular Harry Potter-themed show – and continues to lead Planetarium shows and other events.
She’s also one of the lead docents at the Community Observatory in Placerville, the same observatory where she first became enamored with astronomy as a high school student.
“The biggest positive and lasting impact of Elizabeth’s activities has been as a role model for young girls in science,” wrote College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Lisa Hamersley in nominating Gabler for the award. “Through her volunteer activities … at the Planetarium and at the Community Observatory, and through sharing her experience with NASA’s DART mission in television interviews, Elizabeth is living evidence that women can thrive in traditionally male-dominated fields like physics.”
All of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored during a ceremony on campus on Oct. 19.
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