Mission: "Space for All"

Published in MIT News on May 21, 2015, by the Office of Minority Education

In visit to MIT, NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle urges women and girls to dream big.

On a recent early spring evening, an unusual scene unfolded on the riverside steps of Walker Memorial: Members of MIT’s Black Women’s Alliance (BWA) and girls from the Cambridge-based Science Club for Girls (SCG) orbited a woman in a bright blue NASA jumpsuit. The group had gathered to meet the owner of the suit, astronaut Yvonne Cagle, before her community-wide talk, “Women in Space.” As Cagle chatted with the crowd, posed for photos, and signed autographs, it was clear that her enthusiasm for her first-time MIT visit was matched only by that of the women and girls who had come to this very special private reception.NASA Astronaut Yvonne Cagle

Shortly afterwards in Building 34, MIT junior and BWA co-chair Alyssa Napier welcomed the entire MIT community to the event, which was hosted by the Black Women's Alliance, the Office of Minority Education, and Publicis Groupe. She was followed by Kate Pickle, senior director for programming at SCG, an organization for girls from underrepresented communities that seeks to encourage their excitement about and self-confidence in STEM education.

Sophomore Tiera Guinn, co-chair of BWA, realized a dream by introducing Cagle. As a major in aeronautics and astronautics with a career goal to send someone into space, Guinn nearly teared up as she described Cagle’s career path: Cagle spent 15 years as an Air Force flight surgeon before shifting gears and completing two years of training and evaluation at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in order to serve as a space shuttle flight mission specialist...

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