Adler Teens Meet NASA Astronaut

On May 15, 2019, some of our Adler Teens had the opportunity to have dinner with former NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson at a special dinner in the Grainger Sky Theater. The event took place the evening before our Women in Space Science Award Celebration where we honored Dr. Whitson for her achievements in the world of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math). 

After the event, we talked to some of the teens about their experience meeting Dr. Whitson, as well as about the Adler Youth Voice Project presentations they shared during the event. Hear about their experience below!

Dr. Whitson shakes hands with an Adler teen
Adler teens meet Dr. Whitson.
What was your favorite part about sharing your team’s project with Peggy Whitson and Adler staff members?

“We all really enjoyed having our physical work printed out and available to read, and I personally felt really proud of having my comic printed out on such a large scale to view. The Adler Youth Voice Project was so much fun to work on, and it was really incredible to have our works being read by everyone.” —Ines

“At the dinner, I was able to share my writing and experiences from the Adler Youth Voice Project with Dr. Whitson. We discussed the importance of writing in science, which was awesome!” —Jane

What was it like to have a conversation with someone who has been in space? What was it like to talk to a female astronaut?

“Never before had I met an astronaut, let alone one who was a leader in her field and an inspiration for so many other women. Meeting Dr. Whitson was such an eye-opening experience because I got to hear her story as she would tell it.” —Stevia

“Given everything, I think it’s incredible that she can remain so grounded after her adventures. She was very wise and insightful on everything we asked her about, and we definitely had a lot to ask about!” —Ines

What was the most inspiring thing that Dr. Whitson said that struck a chord with you?

“A lot of what she said struck a chord with me, and if I had to choose, the most inspiring thing Dr. Whitson said was something so simple but understated—she said to keep fighting because opportunities do not always come to you.” —Margot

“Going into science is going to have enough intellectual challenges, and there is no reason to allow yourself to worry about what other people say you can and cannot do. I think that her response was perfect—we simply don’t have time to care about other people’s opinions on our own capabilities.” —Jane

What was the biggest takeaway you had when you left the event at the end of the evening?

“Dr. Whitson persevered even when she was rejected as an astronaut. When she became an astronaut, she continued to work hard, and she was able to problem-solve in tough situations in space. Dr. Whitson made all of my dreams and aspirations feel tangible.” —Margot

“The entire dinner and discussion were inspiring to say the least. Dr. Whitson really helped me realize my potential and I am even more excited to pursue astronomy in the future!” —Stevia

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