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First American woman to walk in space confirmed as guest speaker at virtual Space festival

18 September 2020

Geologist and former NASA astronaut, Kathy Sullivan who made history by becoming the first American woman to walk in space, will take centre stage at this year’s virtual STEMFest in Space festival.

The event, which will be held on Thursday 8 October, will give schools, colleges and community groups the opportunity to learn about the many wonders of space and to hear first-hand from astronauts and inspirational speakers from the international space sector.

On 11 October 1984, Kathy made history when she was the first American woman to walk in space. She was a crew member of three Space Shuttle missions and has spent a total of 532 hours in space.

Dr Sullivan made history again this year (7 June 2020) when she became only the eighth person and first woman to travel 7 miles (11KM) to the deepest depths of the ocean.

She joined Victor Vescovo, a former naval officer and investor in a two-person submersible and travelled more than 35,800ft (10,900m) to the Challenger Deep, known as the deepest part of the earth’s seabed.

Dr Sullivan will join a host of other speakers including astronauts and astronomers to talk to children about her time in space and about being the first person to experience travelling to both space and the ocean’s floor.

She said: “I look forward to sharing the challenges, wonders and personal impressions of deep sea and outer space exploration with the STEMFest audience.”

STEMFest in Space is a free virtual event which is being organised by STEM Ambassador Hub North East, run by RTC North, and will coincide with World Space Week (4-10 Oct). The aim of the event is to encourage and engage as many young people as possible in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to help them consider a career in this field when they are older.

Young people will be able to learn from the comfort of their own classrooms and interact with STEM Ambassadors who work or support the international space industry.

The event will be hosted by TV presenter and stage actor, Dallas Campbell and will also include inspirational talks and discussions by Dr Andy Aldrin and Jim Christensen of the Aldrin Family Foundation. Dr Aldrin is Director of the Aldrin Space Institute and president of the non-profit foundation and also son of the famous astronaut Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin.

Claire Willis, STEM Education Relationship Manager at RTC North based in Sunderland is organising the event. She said, “We are delighted Dr Kathy Sullivan has agreed to participate in our event. She is a huge inspiration to all women across the world and I am sure our younger generation will be interested to hear about her time in space and travelling to the deepest part of the earth’s seabed.

“STEMFest in Space will combine classroom and hands-on learning in an exciting, fun-packed day, showcasing the many wonders of space. It is a perfect opportunity to learn about careers within the space sector and a chance to meet real astronauts and inspirational speakers.”

Schools and colleges must pre-register for this event. For more information and to book, please visit https://stemfest.org.uk/ 





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