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Space Pioneer Eileen Collins Opening Diversity Speaker Series

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Eileen Collins, the first female NASA shuttle pilot and commander, is being featured in the first Diversity Speaker Series convocation of the 2017-18 academic year.

Pioneering astronaut Eileen Collins will launch the 2017-18 Diversity Speaker Series with a presentation encouraging the next generation of space explorers, engineers, mathematicians and scientists. This special campus convocation is slated for Monday, Oct. 23, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Hall theater.

The event is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required.

Collins became the first woman to pilot a NASA space shuttle mission in 1995 during the Discovery program’s rendezvous with the International Space Station. Two years later, she piloted her second mission as the shuttle Atlantis delivered equipment to the space station. By 1999, she had logged 419 hours in space and earned command of the space shuttle Columbia on its mission to deploy the $1.5 billion Chandra X-Ray Observatory telescope into earth’s orbit—becoming NASA’s first female shuttle commander in the process.

In 2005, Collins retired after a 26-year career as a pilot with the Air Force, flying 30 different types of aircraft, and a year later left NASA. Since her retirement, Collins has received numerous awards and honors, including induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center, alongside other space pioneers such as John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. She has also received the National Space Trophy, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Space Flight medals, and the Free Spirit Award.

A native of Elmira, N.Y., Collins earned an associate in mathematics/science from Corning Community College, added a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University and a master’s degree in space systems management from Webster University.