Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, congratulations.
A: Thank you
specialist-educator candidate, tell me what it was like when you
got the news that you had been picked to start training as an astronaut.
It was completely
unreal. I was teaching my third-period Integrated Earth Science
class. The telephone rang, and I was just expecting to hear some
student's name that I needed to send down to the office. And instead,
I get offered the dream job that I've always wanted. I was shaking
and jumping up and down. Of course, the students wanted to know
what's wrong with me. And then when I got off the phone, they got
to share in my excitement and enthusiasm.
of the people who get picked as astronauts have great academic records
and great work histories, but there's usually something else, some
other area of interest or achievement. For instance, I want to ask
you to tell me about your history as a competitive runner and how
that helped you become a better teacher. And whether that's going
to help you be a better astronaut.
I feel a lot
of the things that you do in running carry over into teaching and,
I think, now into the astronaut position. The big thing is training
and endurance and just keep going. We train hard as teachers. You
work on lessons. You think about what you want to teach your students.
You put it into practice. Sometimes it works wonderful, and you
get to feel like you won the race. Sometimes it bombs, and you have
to pick up the pieces there and try again the next day. I think
the same thing will carry over then into training. I have all this
endurance that I've built up, and I know what pain is and I know
how to suffer through that. But I also know what the achievement
or the goal is. I just keep setting the goals higher and higher
in running. My husband jokes I'm never satisfied with my end race.
And I just tell him, "Well, I'm satisfied. I just wanted to go faster
next time." So, I think that will be the same in training. I'll
work really, really hard, and then, one day it'll all pay off.
just finished the Boston Marathon. What was your time?
I wish I didn't
have to say that time. I ran it in 3:49, and it's the slowest marathon
I've run. But the day was tough, and I'm glad I finished.
faster than almost everybody who's watching. I guarantee it. You
are in a class of 11 astronaut candidates that include the first
educator astronauts. You and two others [were] chosen through a
program that's designed to generate a new excitement for the nation's
teachers and students in science, engineering and technology. How
do you see yourself and your fellow educator astronauts inspiring
the next generation of explorers?
I think we're
going to take a lot of the experiences that we have had, and especially
working with students, but then the rest of the candidates also
have great experiences, and draw from those and share them with
the country. Because they can identify with our same dreams and
goals, they will have enthusiasm along with us for flight and for
space and I see us all working together and sharing these experiences.
you and your whole astronaut class are going to be the folks who
fly the missions that bring the vision for space exploration to
life. You guys are going to be the ones who are going to go to the
moon and then figure out how we go on from there. What is your philosophy
about the future of humankind going out into the cosmos? And how
do you feel about being right there on the front row for it?
Right now in
the Northwest, we're celebrating Lewis and Clark, and 200 years
have gone by after their exploration. And I just see this as kind
of another thing that human beings do as explorers. We get to be
a part of that group now that's going to look beyond Earth and go
back to the moon, and look at Mars and look at all these places
beyond it. It just seems natural. It seems like a place that we
should be going, and it's incredible to look back on what 200 years
ago seemed like a big journey. And hopefully someday, people will
look back from a different place and say it all began there.