Acclaimed African American astronaut inspires Greene County students
If you ever wanted to see a full auditorium of high school kids fall silent, you needed to be at Greene County High School’s presentation from a NASA Astronaut last week. Astronaut Joan Higginbotham, a 20-year veteran of NASA, flew on a Space Shuttle Discovery mission and was just the third African American woman to fly on a mission. It was a presentation of her life, career and journey into space and the special messages she took the time to share with the students.
Chuck Rowland – vice president of Thillen Education Foundation, board chairman of the local Boys and Girls Club and coach and team leader for Greene County’s College and Career Academy – was responsible for bringing Higginbotham into the schools. Rowland is a leading supporter of education and recognizes its vital role in developing and encouraging all children to excel in life. He knows education is a lifelong lesson and pursuit and devotes considerable resources to ensure that happens for all Greene County students.
Higginbotham started her career with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, having left a corporate job. Holding degrees in electrical engineering from Southern Illinois University and masters degrees in management science and space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology, Higginbotham stressed that education was the key to beginning her quest in finding her career path and excelling in multiple roles.<