Stephanie Wilson, an astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will serve as the keynote speaker at Berkshire Community College's (BCC) 53rd Commencement Exercises to be held May 31.
Originally from Boston, Wilson later moved to Pittsfield and graduated from Taconic High School.
"On behalf of the entire BCC community, I'm delighted to announce that Ms. Wilson has accepted our invitation to serve as the speaker at our 53rd Commencement," said President Ellen Kennedy. "Ms. Wilson is a great example of what you can accomplish when you work hard and set your sights high. I know our graduates will learn a great deal from her remarks. She is a wonderful role model for students in Berkshire County."
Wilson began her career at the former Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colo. She then opted to attend graduate school at the University of Texas, where her research on the control and modeling of large, flexible space structures, was sponsored by NASA Langley Research Center through a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Fellowship.
She later joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where she was responsible for assessing attitude controller performance, science platform pointing accuracy, antenna pointing accuracy and spine rate accuracy for the Galileo spacecraft. She also supported the Interferometry Technology Program as a member of the Integrated Modeling team, which was responsible for the finite element modeling, controller design and software development.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Wilson reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. After two years of training and evaluation, she qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist.
After serving in various capacities at NASA for approximately 10 years, Wilson ascended the ranks to Space Station Integration Branch Chief.
A veteran of three spaceflights, Wilson first took part in a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station aboard Discovery's STS-121 space shuttle mission in July 2006. In 2007, she served as a mission specialist on Discovery's STS-120 mission - and was launched from and returned to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Most recently, she took part in a resupply mission on the STS-131 Discovery to the International Space Station, which was launched predawn from Kennedy Space Center. She has logged more than 42 days in space
She holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas. Wilson, a recipient of many special honors and awards, received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2009 and 2011. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Williams College in 2011.
Wilson is member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association of Space Explorers and The Harvard University Board of Overseers.
BCC's 53rd Commencement will be held Fri., May 31 at 4:30 p.m. at Tanglewood in Lenox.
For more details, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/commencement. For Wilson's biography and photo, click here.