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NEWS | Jan. 20, 2022

Profiles in Professionalism: Lt. Deniz Burnham

By NAVSEA Corporate Communications

Reserve Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) Lt. Deniz Burnham is one of 10 astronaut candidates selected in December to train for NASA space missions.

Burnham, from Wasilla, Alaska, who was selected from a list of more than 12,000 applicants, is a former intern at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

The journey for applying and being selected as a NASA Astronaut Candidate is the culmination of a lifetime of effort. As an engineer on an oil rig, Burnham gained experience in operational environments where she gained problem-solving skills working with complicated systems as well as teamwork and adaptability in dynamic settings. She also has a private pilot license with fixed wing, helicopter, and instrument ratings. Burnham earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. In 2017, Burnham was direct commissioned as an EDO and was assigned to Naval Sea Systems Command’s SurgeMain Alameda (Surge Maintenance unit in Alameda, California), a program which supports aircraft carrier and submarine maintenance at the Navy’s four public shipyards

As an EDO in the Navy Reserves, the qualification consists of training to impart technical and operational knowledge needed to be an EDO: the Navy Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course; Officer Development School; the Seamanship/Land Indoctrination Course; Shipboard Systems Engineering, an Industrial Tour at a shipyard, At-Sea, EDO Basic, and then finally the EDO qualification board. Burnham credits the discipline, teamwork, dynamic leadership and followership that is practiced in the EDO community that will prepare her to quickly become a value adding team member at NASA.

“I strongly believe in NASA’s mission and was absolutely thrilled and honored to get the call that I had been selected as an astronaut candidate, says Lt. Burnham. “Becoming a NASA astronaut has always been a childhood dream of mine.”

Burnham will be reporting to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on Jan. 10 to begin two years of training. There are five major training categories: training for spacewalks, robotics skills, ISS systems training, learning Russian language skills, and T-38 jet training.

Burnham looks forward to the opportunity to explore and collaborate with a tremendously skilled and motivated team at NASA, pushing new technologies that can improve life on earth as well as inspiring people from all walks of life to pursue their passions.