Tag Archives: STEM female role models

STEM Female Role Model Spotlight: Rhea Seddon – Astronaut, Doctor, Mom

Dr. Margaret Rhea Seddon was one of six women in the first class of NASA astronauts to include females.  She graduated from medical school in 1973, completed a surgical residency, and worked as an emergency room physician before she was accepted as an astronaut candidate in 1979.  She is an avid pilot and passionate advocate for young women in STEM fields and patient safety training initiatives.

Her first flight into space was on Discovery in 1985, and her second and third flights were on Columbia in 1991 and 1993.  She flew as a mission specialist and as a payload commander for Spacelab, and tallied over 722 hours in space.

After leaving NASA in 1997, she went back into the medical field, working for the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville for eleven years before moving to her current position with LifeWing Partners, LLC.  She is not afraid to stand up for others in her patient safety advocacy work, but she is also not afraid to stand up for herself.  In 2008 she filed a gender-discrimination suit against former employer Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Married to a fellow astronaut, she blazed trials at NASA by becoming not only one of the first women astronauts, but also the first active astronaut to have a baby – in fact, she had three while at NASA.  And she did it all while keeping her medical skills sharp working on the side at the ER and balancing family life with two astronauts in the family.

Rhea Seddon is an impressive STEM female role model, and a good example of how you can work in several fields – medicine, science, safety, advocacy – and tie them all together into a successful career that positively impacts society.

 

Sources:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/seddon.html

http://astronautrheaseddon.com/

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20080152,00.html

http://www.murfreesboropost.com/astronaut-advocate-calls-murfreesboro-home-cms-29698

http://www.saferpatients.com/leadership/rhea-seddon.htm

http://korywells.com/2013/04/interview-with-astronaut-rhea-seddon/

http://www.windows2universe.org/people/astronauts/seddon.html

https://nashvillepost.com/news/2008/8/15/ex_astronaut_sues_vumc_for_gender_discrimination

http://www.tntech.edu/pressreleases/astronaut-rhea-seddon-to-launch-address-at-ttu/

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/aviationspace/ig/Women-Astronauts/Margaret-Rhea-Seddon.htm

http://www.murfreesboropost.com/ex-astronaut-files-suit-against-vanderbilt-medical-center-cms-12539

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1624.html#.UyJ47eewKXc

http://secondandchurch.typepad.com/2nd-church/q3-issue.html

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/oral_histories/SeddonMR/SeddonMR_5-21-10.htm

 

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Why the STEM Female Role Model Spotlights?

The STEM Female Role Model Spotlight posts really serve several purposes.  First, they are to show that there are, in fact, lots of really good female role models in STEM fields.  I try to keep a good mix of those you have likely heard of and those you probably haven’t, across a spread of fields to include everything from computers to chemistry to carbon-dating, and time periods ranging from the earliest scientists to current day computer wizards.  This is important because studies have shown that one of the biggest things that keeps girls from entering STEM fields is a lack of visible female role models in the field – if they don’t see women, especially successful ones in leadership roles in that field, they tend to think it’s ‘not for women’ and the cycle keeps on repeating itself.  Nothing ever changes.

Second, they give me something to write about on days when I don’t have any other topic in mind.  I have a growing list of women who I think would be good for these posts.   I can pick one from the list who, on any given day, I would like to do a little digging on, learn more about, and write about.  These posts save me from ever having to deal with a bad case of writer’s block!  Since I try to write every day, this is crucial.

Third, I just find making these posts fun and interesting.  I enjoy the research part, and think of it as creating a sort of database I can refer to if my daughter is ever looking for a good role model in a particular field.

I hope you find these women’s stories interesting as well.  I welcome any additions to that list, so please feel free to nominate someone you know of who hasn’t been featured yet!

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