Get familiar with this name: Jeanette Epps. Why? Because she has officially become the first African-American crew member to join the International Space Station.
Late last week, NASA announced that Epps, a 46-year-old first-flight astronaut, will be assigned missions aboard the International Space Station in 2018. “Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew [Andrew Feustel] and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. “The space station will benefit from having them on board.”
So who exactly is Jeanette? Here are five things we know.
Super Smart: According to NASA, “Epps earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She went on to complete a master’s of science in 1994 and a doctorate in 2000 in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.”
Per the organization, Epps was also a “NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. After completing graduate school, she went on to work in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before being recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.”
Hobbies: Enjoys traveling, reading, running, mentoring, scuba diving and family. Last year, it looks like Epps spent some time in Ethiopia.
Wake Boarding Fanatic: Based Jeanette’s Twitter page, the astronaut enjoys a day of wake boarding with friends.
New York Pride: Jeanette is from Syracuse, New York, but currently resides in Houston, Texas.
Has a Slew Of Awards and Honors: NASA GSRP Fellowship 1996-1997, 1997 1998 and 1998-1999; Exceptional Performance Award 2003, 2004 and 2008; Inducted into the University of Maryland, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Academy of Distinguished Alumni 2012; JSC Director’s Innovation Group Achievement Award to Improving Efficiency on the ISS Team 2013, Recipient of the Glenn L. Martin Medal from the A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, 2014. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from LeMoyne College.
Can Speak Multiple Languages: