About - Astronaut Abby

About

 

Astronaut Abby Age 17Abigail Harrison is a girl with a dream. She wants to someday be an astronaut. But it doesn’t stop there–she plans to be the first astronaut to Mars. With a dream that big, it takes setting goals and working hard each day to make it a reality.Today, she is one step closer, having recently completed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–traveling to Russia in May 2013 as a special guest of Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano to be a part of a legendary Soyuz launch–Soyuz-TMA-09M. After the launch, Abby was charged with a BIG responsibility: she served as Parmitano’s Earth Liaison, bringing space down to Earth by sharing Parmitano’s space mission with her followers and other young people interested in space.

Abby has also created a worldwide outreach program called the #FutureOfSpace that is geared at igniting passion and excitement about space, STEM and dreams with kids around the world. It includes an email pen pal program, classroom visits, web chats, speaking at events and sharing on her social media channels and blog.

Early STEM Education

Abby is committed to inspiring other young people. Since the tender age of five, Abby has been dreaming of space and flying. A hands-on experience in the fifth grade cemented her commitment to her dream: Abby was chosen to participate in the GEMS program (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science) at her school. Four years later, she had built robots, conducted science experiments and participated in NASA’s weather balloon program through the University of Minnesota.

Aspiring astronaut Astronaut AbbyHow AstronautAbby.com Got Started

By 8th grade, Abby was a member of her school’s top-ranked Science Bowl team and had created an award-winning State History Day Project titled Debate and Diplomacy: The History of the ISS. The project spanned both history and science and included Abby’s interviews with astronauts as well as industry space experts like Susan Freedman, an engineer for the International Space Station.

It was during this project that Abby created an online presence and became AstronautAbby. She found the power of social media allowed her to connect with people around the world who were both space professionals as well as enthusiasts. In December 2011, Abby was invited as a guest blogger for NASA’s ISS blog, in which she wrote a post titled “Meet a Teen With Space Dreams.” In March 2012, Abby was featured in an article on NASA’s education website titled “Astronaut Abby Hearts NASA.” In October of 2013, Abby was invited to present a TEDx talk in Tampa Bay. Her talk titled “What’s Your Mars?” has been shared around the globe, inspiring thousands of kids and adults to find their Mars and follow their own passion and purpose. Watch the video now to be inspired and please share with your friends!

Abby’s goal with her blog at AstronautAbby.com, Twitter account, Facebook Page and Google+ Page is to share her experience of reaching for this amazing dream and to inspire other young people to set their own goals and reach for the stars. Abby hopes to encourage adults to continue to invest in STEM education and to re-commit to the research of NASA and space exploration. She takes the responsibility of being the future generation of our space program seriously and wants to empower her generation to keep the torch burning.

Working Hard Everyday to Achieve Her Goals

Currently in her senior year in high school, Abby is taking all of her courses at the University of Minnesota as part of an exclusive post-secondary education program through Minneapolis Public Schools. Abby continues to conduct her STEM and Space outreach program as well as volunteer to help run kids science programs within her community. She has been a Model UN member and part of the Youth in Government Program through her four years of high school. She has also participated in the statewide steering committee for these programs. Abby serves as a captain of her high school gymnastics team, a varsity member of her high school dive team and a varsity member of her high school track and field team with pole vaulting as her main event. It’s obvious that keeping Abby on the ground is a challenge, as she loves to be flying through the air!

Abby is working toward a goal of attending the either the Air Force Academy or one of several prestigious universities after high school graduation. She wants to study microbiology and/or physics with a goal of attaining a doctorate and becoming a scientist. The one piece of advice Abby always refers back to in her following her own dreams and also encouraging others was given to her by her mentor, Astronaut Luca Parmitano: “Follow your heart in your studies and do what you love. NASA is looking for people who are passionate about what they do.” This counsel has helped Abby to set goals and navigate a path to space that not only prepares her for being an astronaut, but also keeps her excited about the process. She continues to correspond with Astronaut Luca Parmitano. He has graciously offered to be Abby’s mentor as she works for a goal that may seem impossible to some. He stated in an interview Abby conducted several years ago “Someday I will be training you to be an astronaut.” It’s a dream that Abby hopes to see become reality.


Some other fun Stuff Abby has participated in:

TEDX Tampa Bay – “What’s Your Mars” – See Abby’s Talk Here!

#SoyuzAdventure – Trip to See Astronaut Luca Paramitano’s Launch to the ISS in Russia

Apollo 17 4oth Anniversary Dinner at Stafford Air and Space Museum

Canadian Space Agency Tweetup #CSAtweetup #STS135

NASA Tweetup #NASAtweetup #NASAsocial #STS 134

Space Camp 2010, Space Academy 2011, Advanced Space Academy and Mach 3 Aviation Challenge 2012

Read up on All the Press about Abby and Her Adventures Here!