Astronaut Sunita Williams touches down at Dana

Astronaut Sunita Williams, an astronaut who holds many records for her accomplishments throughout her career, visited Dana Hall to speak to a group of students on January 28. Although the snow kept most of the school from meeting her at the Wannamaker lecture originally scheduled for the night before, students were given the opportunity to listen to her during a lunch block, and she spoke to an eco-biology class as well.

Williams holds the records for the longest single space flight by a woman, total spacewalks by a woman, and most spacewalk time for a woman. During Williams’s lunch discussion, she talked about how she was one of the few women in her class, but since then she has seen an increasing number of women on a career path like hers. Hosna Seyed-Reihani ’16 attended the lunch meeting, and after listening to an experience about one of Williams’s spacewalks, she “learned that being an astronaut isn’t all about being a genius, it’s a lot of fun!”

Williams grew up in the nearby town of Needham, MA, and throughout her childhood never considered the possibility of becoming an astronaut. However, after joining the United States Navy, she suddenly became interested. Seyed-Reihani expressed how “Williams showed [her] you can start out thinking you want to do one thing with your life, and end up doing something completely different.”

The majority of the school, however, did not get to meet Williams. As Sophie Langlois ’17 said, “it was a huge bummer that the Wannamaker got snowed out,” adding that she was originally very excited when she heard a woman astronaut was coming to visit Dana. However, the fact that Williams still got to visit Thursday afternoon before leaving town that night created the opportunity for interested students to listen to her speak.

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