Carly: Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Johanna: My name is Johanna Siegel! I’m originally from Washington, DC (yes a true Washingtonian!) and went to school at the University of Pittsburgh. I just moved to Houston 6 months ago for basically a dream job as a systems engineer at NASA! I’m working on the human integration side of the lunar lander that’s going to be used to go back to the moon as part of the Artemis campaign! I’m am for sure one of those NASA nerds and am always down to talk space.
Carly: What was your 'Jewish experience' like in college?
Johanna: In college, I went to a few Hillel and Chabad Shabbats throughout the year, and usually either went home to DC or to a local Pittsburgh synagogue for the high holy days. I also had a few close Jewish friends who I ended up living with for the better part of my college experience! I’m glad I finally have a chance to connect with another Jewish community through Jewston.
Carly: How has your time in Houston been?
Johanna: Not going to lie, it’s been taking me a minute to get used to Houston. Before I moved here, I had never owned a car and pretty much walked/took public transit everywhere. So the traffic and the driving (and the heat ) have been an adjustment. But I’m pretty sure those are really the only downsides to Houston. The food scene here is insane and I already have a running list of hundreds of restaurants. I’ve also slowly been making new friends which has been amazing and is starting to make Houston feel more like home for me. I love Houston’s city parks, and I really want to explore some of the state & national parks of Texas!
Carly: What has been the biggest surprise about living in Houston?
Johanna: I honestly thought more people would be wearing cowboy hats on a daily basis. And the fact that most of the people I’ve met who live here aren’t originally from Houston has been a surprise! Also, kolaches have been one of my favorite new things I’ve tried - I had never heard of a kolache before moving here, and don’t actually know if they’re a thing anywhere else.
Carly: What do you enjoy most about Jewston events?
Johanna: I’ve made some good friends since I moved here, but I kind of didn’t realize I was missing having Jews in my life until I went to my first Jewston event. There’s just something different about being in a room and suddenly remembering you have something in common with everyone there. That hasn’t been the norm for me since I graduated college and I’m really liking having that feeling again.
Carly: Is there anything else you want the Jewston community to know?
Johanna: I am very excited to make new friends and expand my Jewish network (and play some Jewish geography)! I’ve only been to a few events so far, but I can safely say that Jewston has been such an amazing find in Houston. Everyone I’ve met has been extremely friendly and welcoming. I’ve missed being part of a Jewish community like this and I’m looking forward to going to many more events in the future!