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2004 Astronaut Candidate
05.06.04
 
Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Mission Specialist-Educator

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Mission Specialist-Educator. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center. One of Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger's astronomy students at Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Washington once wanted to know how astronauts use the bathroom in space.

"Mrs. M.L.," as she's known to her students, went to the NASA.gov Web site looking to answer her student's question, and what she found changed her life.

Image left: 2004 Astronaut Candidate Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger. Click for High Resolution Image. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

"The educator astronaut position had just been posted," she says. "I got so excited. It seemed so perfect." She got the call in mid-April that she had been accepted to begin astronaut training this summer at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "When this big of a dream comes true, it's unreal."

Metcalf-Lindenburger considers herself a science teacher even when she's outside of the classroom. "My husband and I built a telescope last year and took it on our summer vacation, and wherever we stopped, we showed people things like Jupiter or the moon," she says. "So many of the adults had never even looked through a telescope."

"I guess I see myself as sort of a teacher for all people," she adds.

"A lot of kids aren't necessarily interested in science and math," she says. "But they do get excited about things like the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. I want to continue to build more connections with the community to get them jazzed about studying science."

Metcalf-Lindenburger grew up in Ft. Collins, Colorado and went to Ft. Collins High School. She has a younger sister who is a math teacher in Chicago, and the siblings often help each other with their lesson plans.

"We're very close," she says. "We had a lot of fun growing up. We were always creating newspapers or putting on shows for our grandparents."

Metcalf-Lindenburger got excited about science in high school when she traveled with a teacher to California to present ideas on how to turn food waste into fuel. She later earned a geology degree from Whitman College in Washington.

DOTTIE METCALF-LINDENBURGER, Mission Specialist-Educator

AGE: 29

BORN:Colorado Springs, Colorado

EDUCATION: BS, Geology, Whitman College, Washington, 1997

CURRENT JOB: Science Teacher and Cross Country Coach, Hudson's Bay High School, Vancouver, Washington

QUICK FACT: Hikes, bikes, roller blades, and has finished the Boston Marathon

QUOTE: "When this big of a dream comes true, it's unreal."

Metcalf-Lindenburger is an avid runner, and exactly one week after she was notified of her acceptance for astronaut training, she celebrated another accomplishment: completing the Boston Marathon. She and her husband Jason also enjoy hiking, biking, roller blading, and traveling.

At 29, she is the youngest of the 2004 class of astronaut candidates. Metcalf-Lindenburger says, "I like learning from people who are a little older, who have more life experiences. Sometimes I feel like, because I'm younger, I have to prove myself. Then, I realize I'm fortunate that I have so many opportunities to learn."

"People are doing great things with their lives to further science," she says. "I hope to bring the community into what's going on."