Ray and I enjoyed another interesting speaker at UT Arlington. Their Maverick Speaker Series brings in vibrant folks who encourage us to dream and dare. Anousheh Ansari was the first female private space explorer. Also the first Iranian and Muslim in space. Her eight days aboard the International Space Station completed a dream she had as a little girl, and also pushed her to think further about science, technology, and the future.
Ansari is the co-founder, chairwoman, and CEO of Prodea Systems - a company constantly seeking innovations in global access to technology. Her talk was very interesting. As a young girl in Iran, she drew pictures of rocket ships and dreamed of space travel. Her parents were able to flee the worn torn country in upheaval and come to America. Here, she pursued a math career but always had her head in the stars. Obviously a smart entrepreneur, her hard work did pay off.
She was able to pay for a trip in a Soyuz. Her discussion of the training, the ride in the Vomit Comet test, learning beginning Russian, etc was humorous. The preparation was rigorous. The pictures aboard the ISS - weightlessness, doing experiments, and the views from space - were awe-inspiring.
Now back on earth, Anousheh Ansari works to promote STEM education, especially for girls. She hopes to inspire youth to dream big and not give up. Look to the stars and see a future.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.