2011 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award
Presentation at the 2011 Annual Meeting
Former astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first U.S. woman to walk in space, is a 1969 graduate of Taft High School in Woodland Hills, California. She was awarded a bachelor in science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1973, as well as a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University in 1978.
As a member of the NASA astronaut corps, she became the first U.S. woman to walk in space in 1984. Six years later, Sullivan was part of the shuttle mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. She served as an oceanography officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain and as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
After leaving NASA, Sullivan served as president and CEO of the COSI Columbus, an interactive science center in Columbus, Ohio. She currently serves as director for The Ohio State University's Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy and as a volunteer science advisor to COSI. She was appointed to the National Science Board by President Bush in 2004. In 2004, Sullivan was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Sullivan was elected to a three-year term as the Chair of the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Sullivan is an adjunct professor of geology at The Ohio State University and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics.
A Sigma Xi member since 1989, she is also a member of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Explorers Club, the Society of Woman Geographers and Association of Space Explorers. She has been awarded honorary degrees by five universities. Her honors include the Aviation Week and Space Technology Aerospace Legend Award; Astronaut Hall of Fame; and the Public Service Award, National Science Board, in recognition of lifelong commitment to science education. In 2011, Sullivan was selected by President Barack Obama to be an assistant secretary of commerce.