Monday, July 23, 2007

Joan E. Higginbotham wins Black Rose Award

Astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham will be presented the 2007 Black Rose Award on August 26 in Atlanta.

The Black Rose Award is considered the League of Black Women's highest honor. It's presented to individuals committed to advocating leadership opportunities for women of color in science, technology and public service.
According to her NASA profile, Higgenbotham has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University, and masters degrees in management and space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology. She has worked at NASA as an engineer on the space shuttle program since 1987, and was accepted as an astronaut candidate in 1996. Her first space mission was on the Space Shuttle Discovery in December 2006.

In her preflight interview, she spoke about her education and experiences at NASA. She acknowledges her family for supporting her and feels like she can give back to less fortunate kids.
It’s not so much that I think I’m a role model. It’s more of that I think I’ve been incredibly blessed as an individual, and I had wonderful parents and family and friends who just encouraged me to be the best that I could. I think that’s why I am the person I am today and where I am today. I just feel a sense of responsibility to do the same for people who are coming up. I think nowadays there are a lot of children who weren’t as blessed as I am. They don’t come from homes where families encourage them to do things. I think if I can maybe help them and encourage them to do whatever it is -- not necessarily become an astronaut -- just encourage them to do their best and expect nothing but the best from themselves, I think that I’m doing something good.
Read the whole interview for more about her background and role on the space shuttle mission.

Higginbotham also won the 2007 Women in Space Science Award from the Adler Planetarium in her hometown, Chicago.

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