Nov. 14, 2002 — Astronaut Stephanie D. Wilson and Astrophysicist Dr. Beth A. Brown will be the featured guests at the University of the Virgin Islands NASA Awareness Days from November 17-20 on both campuses.
Astronaut Wilson will give the keynote address at the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Awareness Days opening ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the Sports and Fitness Center on the St. Thomas campus. Brown is the keynote speaker at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the grand opening of the NASA Educator Resource Center at the Etelman House Observatory and at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at the Student Center on the St. Croix campus.
Wilson and Brown are both African-American women who have set records in their fields. Wilson was the first woman and first African-American at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to be selected for mission specialist training. Brown was the first African-American woman to obtain a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Michigan department of astronomy.
Wilson is a mission specialist at the Johnson Space Center in Texas. As a mission specialist Wilson, an astronaut who has qualified for flight assignment, is in charge of operating experiments, deploying satellites and handling many other aspects of Space Shuttle missions. She is assigned to the Astronaut Office CAPCOM Branch, working in Mission Control as a prime communicator with on-orbit crews. Wilson has a bachelor's degree in engineering science from Harvard University and a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas.
Brown is the National Space Science Data Center principal astrophysics acquisition scientist. She works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Valedictorian of her high school class, she earned a bachelor's degree in astrophysics from Howard University and went on to the University of Michigan, where she earned master's and doctorate degrees in astronomy. At the Goddard Space Flight Center she conducts research on the hot interstellar medium in elliptical galaxies and mechanisms for X-ray emission from faint elliptical galaxies.
But both of them can speak regular English, too, and don't always have their heads in the clouds or above: see personal websites for Beth Brown and Stephanie Wilson.
NASA Awareness Days will celebrate UVI's partnership with NASA and bring an awareness of space administration to the community. The celebration will include three days of exhibits, panel discussions, workshops and speeches by Wilson, Brown and other NASA scientists and administrators. There will be NASA exhibits from the Ames Research Center, Kennedy Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Langley Research Center. UVI student research posters and science fair projects will also be on display.
NASA Awareness Days are frequent at institutions around the world where NASA supports programs, but this is the first time for the Virgin Islands. NASA has supported UVI's Science and Math Division for many years, most recently with a $150,000 grant to support the Saturday and Summer Science Academies on both campuses.
For more information or to register for the events on the St. Thomas campus call Dr. Hernandez-Badia at 693-1383. For more information about the events on the St. Croix campus call Kichma Nieves at 692-4150.
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