My Journey Archives - Astronaut Abby

Photos of My New Home, Wellesley College

Now that I have chosen Wellesley College as my home for the next four years, I thought I would share some photos from my recent tour. The best way I can describe the Wellesley campus is that it’s incredibly beautiful. Sitting on over 500 acres of land, there is plenty of nature and room to explore. It also has a bit of Hogwarts blended with a more modern twist.

I love the history of the college and the fact that it’s built on hills, which helps keep the students in shape as they walk the campus. It is a plus for a future astronaut! The Wellesley Alumnae are known to be the perhaps the most powerful women’s network in the world. It’s an honor to be joining this community and I look forward to the mentorship that the generation before me will bring to my generation, The Mars Generation. I also look forward to the new friends I will make during my time there – knowing these women will be with me throughout my career. Scroll below to read the captions of each photo and learn more about the Wellesley campus.


This is the admissions building! It was hard to capture the entire building on an iPhone, but it’s a beautiful old building that has all the custom molding and historic architecture both inside and out that I have grown to love while living in the city of Minneapolis. I am a huge fan of old architecture!


This is residence hall Stone Davis, and picture does not do it justice. It wraps around in a curve on both sides and faces a beautiful lake. Current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called this building home for her years at Wellesley. I would love to live in this dormitory, but I have no idea of where I will live or who my roommate is yet!


The Chapel at Wellesley is beautiful and feels welcoming. The chapel is not specific in faith, which is very nice. Many religious and non-religious affiliated events happen in the chapel.


This is a photo of one end of the library building. The library is massive and once again it’s hard to get a photo that shows the entire building. There are science and music-specific libraries housed here as well as a general library. I love that there is a science-specific library!


When you first walk into the library, this is what you see. It’s gorgeous and makes you want to sit down and absorb as much knowledge as you can. I can’t wait to study here!


Here’s the Campus Student Center. It’s a much more modern building. The bookstore, a coffee shop, restaurant/cafeteria and many other things are housed here. The inside is as unique as the outside. Simply wonderful!


The Science Center at Wellesley College is really cool inside. It’s a mix of old architecture and some new architecture as well! When I stand in this building and look around, I imagine in my head “this is home.” I can see myself spending many hours in this building. I can’t wait!


Here is a photo collage I made of inside the Science Center to try and let you see some of what I see when I stand within the central corridor.



I can’t wait to participate in the astronomy research that takes place in the Whitin Observatory. This photo is with Professor Wes Watters, who is a Mars expert and will be one of my instructors! He is explaining some of the work the college does using the three large telescopes that are part of the Whitin Observatory.


I thought this t-shirt in the bookstore was great. “Wellesley women. Great Secretaries…of State.” I am already a major feminist, but I am guessing my time at Wellesley will only strengthen my beliefs. I cannot wait!

Meeting Astronaut Gene Cernan and Reaching for Mars [Video]

As I am nearing my high school graduation I have been reflecting on some of the amazing and wonderful experiences that I have had in the last 4 years. One memory that I will forever cherish was meeting the last man to walk on the moon, Gene Cernan. On December 8, 2012 (at age 14) I attended the 40th Anniversary Gala for Apollo 17 as a guest of Sean Costello of Background Backup. I met Gene at the VIP reception before this event. It was a very special moment to meet the last man to walk on the moon, especially since I hope and plan to be the first person to walk on Mars. The picture of us together is forever priceless. It was a big surprise and a great honor to have Gene mention meeting me at the end of his keynote speech.  Watch the video to hear what he said!

Gene Cernan: We will go back to the moon and we will go to Mars! I met a young lady who’s in this audience today who said she wants to be the first person on Mars. If you want to be that person, we’ll give you that chance. There will be that opportunity to be the first person on Mars. You are in the right place at the right time. It’s up to us  to provide those shoulders from which you can stand on so that you can reach for your star as we did for ours. Thank you.


Presenting at the Shorty Awards!

I had the amazing opportunity to co-present at the 2015 Shorty Awards! I got to meet some awesome people who do great work with social media, using it as a tool to inspire young people all over the world. To be in a room with such great and influential people was a cool experience! Thanks Shorty Awards for having me there, and thanks to those who nominated me for the Teen Hero award! Here are some photos from the event:

Shorty Awards 1

Here’s a photo of Astronaut Mike Massimino and me presenting the science and green awards at the ceremony. It was great fun when we announced Bill Nye The Science Guy as the science award winner, and we got to give him his award before he spoke to the audience.


Lucy DeVito

I love the show Deadbeat on Hulu! Meeting actress Lucy DeVito who plays one of my favorite characters in the show was a highlight of the Shorty Awards!


Bill Nye the Science Guy

What can I say? Meeting Bill Nye The Science Guy is kind of a big deal for me!!! He’s amazing!


shorty awards 4

My mom is my biggest supporter and has been with me every step of the way on my #JourneyToMars even at the Shorty Awards! Thanks Mom!

Talking About Dreaming Big at East Kootenay Science Fair

Last week I got the amazing opportunity to speak in Cranbrook British Columbia at the East Kootenay Science Fair. Thursday was my day to speak to middle school and high school kids. I spoke twice on Friday – once to middle school students who were entered into the science fair, and then again to the public. Saturday I presented to the elementary students who participated in the fair. It was about 1,000 kids total! I answered a lot of questions and got to be around inspiring aspiring science students! It was awesome seeing all of the students’ projects and getting to talk to them about STEM, space and dreaming big! I’m so thankful for getting the chance to do this.

Here are a few photos from the event:

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This was my view at the East Kootenay science fair before I got the chance to speak.

Cranbrook 2

While signing autographs during the last day of the East Kootenay science fair, I asked each kid if they had any questions. Some were shy and had a hard time speaking up – but I could tell they had a question. I told them if they don’t ask me a question I was going to ask them one. That usually encouraged them to ask. :)

Cranbrook 4

Yes I talk with my hands just a bit. I can’t remember what I was explaining to these kids but you can tell it was important! :)

Cranbrook 3

This very serious 3-year-old, Zachary, came up to ask a question immediately after my talk at the East Kootenay science fair – I was impressed by his question and also how intently he listened to my answer. Perhaps a future astronaut or maybe a rocket scientist?

Thank you to Zachary and all the other kids for being active members of the Mars Generation!


I’ve Been Picked as One of the Top 25 Women Who Rock Social Media!


My mom, SocialNicole, and me at the first test launch of the Orion spacecraft (the vehicle that will someday take me to Mars). This was an incredible launch to attend and report on with Space Flight Insider.

I have some exciting news! I’m on the 2014 list of 25 Women Who Rock Social Media! It’s pretty amazing that I was included on the same list as so many brilliant women, such as Beverly Jackson (@bevjack), Jeanette Gibson (@jeanetteg) and Michelle Killebrew (@shellkillebrew).

It means a lot that my nominator Lee Odden recognized my work in social media outreach. Lee is a social media industry leader, whom I have met through my mom who runs a social media consultancy. I am honored to be an example and leader for my generation, the Mars Generation, showcasing to many kids and young adults how to leverage social networking to advance their own goals and dreams. When I first started on Twitter at age 13, people unbeknown to me said I was pioneering a new world. I didn’t realize that while they were referring to Mars, this also was true right here on social media, as I have grown an audience of over 350,000 fans and followers who are all on my journey to mars with me.

My community slowly grew on Twitter until my opportunity to Act Big came and I was invited to witness a Soyuz launch in Kazakhstan as a VIP guest of my mentor Astronaut Luca Parmitano. I decided to bring this experience to the world and make sure that kids and adults had a chance to experience what I experienced and hopefully inspire others as Luca inspired me. What happened from this bold step has been phenomenal.

I launched an outreach program to run while Luca lived in space for six months and I partnered with Luca to be his Earth Liasion and bring his experience living in space to everyone on earth through my social media outreach. Luca went up, came down and we had a lot of fun working together. But my outreach did not end there. Eighteen months later, I am still running my outreach program now titled The Future of Space. My little twitter account of 4,000 followers has grown to include Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube channels with over 350,000 followers and fans. I am humbled and truly touched to be embraced both online and in real life. It’s been phenomenal and I am so thankful for the support and belief in my dreams.

I have had thousands of kids and adults reach out to me online to tell me they too have big dreams, and they are inspired to reach for their own Mars because of me. They are what the circle of inspiration is really about. When I started on Twitter five years ago it was unusual to see kids and young adults declaring their dreams online and using social media to pursue their goals, dreams and passions. I am honored to have set an example and be a leader for the Mars Generation on positive ways to use social media to reach future goals.

The honor of being named one of the top 25 women in social media, is not only an individual honor, but also an honor for every person who has chosen to come along on my journey. I am only recognized because of each of you. I urge you to continue to spread the space message and grow this community. Join my Future of Space Facebook group and invite your friends. Be a part of this incredible voyage and historic time!