Magnolia woman selected as NASA/JPL Solar System ambassador

Magnolia resident Crystal Kaya was recently selected to join approximately 1,200 nationwide volunteers who provide community education with local events for the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program. Selected volunteers go through a rigorous selection process that begins in September of the prior year.

Kaya joined the board of the Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) in 2022 and attended the American Astronomical Society conference earlier this year. Through her work with SAS, she has also facilitated a number of Girl Scout Space Badge programs.

Kaya is originally from Ojai, Calif., and moved around the country before settling in Seattle eight years ago. While she has always been enthusiastic about space, it was involvement in the Seattle Astronomical Society that motivated her to grow her astronomy activities beyond a simple hobby.

“I am passionate and enthusiastic about space and dedicated to sharing that love of space with others,” Kaya said in a press release. “With no formal degree or career in astronomy, I have pursued my passion for space of my own accord, and I think my background can help others, especially women/girls, see just how accessible space and astronomy can be. Anyone can get excited, learn more, and get involved in looking up, exploring, and sharing in the wonder of our universe.”

As an avid night-sky enthusiast, on clear nights Kaya enjoys stargazing and hunting down deep-sky objects with her telescope from her back deck and shares her love of space with her 8-year-old son.

Kaya is especially dedicated to sharing her passion for space with underrepresented audiences. She is excited about future opportunities to host events dedicated to women and girls, and children with disabilities.

Kaya will be hosting events throughout the year. See scheduled events on the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Events page,

To have Kaya facilitate a NASA/JPL education/community outreach event, reach out to her through her contact page,

The Solar System Ambassadors Program of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers information and excitement about real missions that explore our solar system. Volunteer ambassadors in communities throughout the country are selected by JPL based on their backgrounds and on their plans for public outreach activities. JPL provides ambassadors with educational materials and training. However, the opinions of Ambassadors are not necessarily those of NASA or JPL. Further information about the Solar System Ambassadors Program is available at JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.