Malini Rao became interested in astronomy as a child, looking up at the night sky and wondering when and where the universe began, and where it ends. Growing up, she did not having the opportunity or means needed to foster this interest. Today, technology has made it possible for anyone interested to be connected to a wealth of information and resources. When her child started showing an interest in space and astronomy, she began looking for opportunities to foster their shared interest. This led to an after school astronomy club called Astral Astronomers, at the neighborhood elementary school. She has enjoyed promoting space education to students, teachers and the general public through this endeavor.
Malini studied Molecular Biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey and graduated with a Masters degree in Science. She worked on cancer biology research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Her background in biology and interest in astronomy have inspired her to learn more about potential applications of astrobiology in future space missions.
In addition to astronomy, her interests include gardening and cooking. Malini's family has lived in the Dallas area for about 15 years. She enjoys participating in community outreach events, volunteering, and attending local astronomy events with her family.