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Women's Panel Discusses '50 Years of Progress' at Visitor Complex
Women's History Panel

Image above: In celebration of Women’s History Month, iconic women from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s past and present participate in a panel discussion, “50 Years of Progress--Celebrating the Women of Kennedy Space Center,” in the IMAX 2 Theater at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex . From left are Judy Kersey, Carol Craig, astronaut Nicole Stott, Patty Stratton, Wanda Harding, Dr. Merri Sanchez, Kathleen Harer, and moderator Lauren Rowe of News Channel 6. Image credit: NASA/Gianni Woods
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Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreaams." For many women 50 years ago, the dreams of becoming an engineer, an astronaut or even a scientist seemed out of reach. But for half a century, women at NASA have taken those dreams and made them come true, as many started to break barriers and create names for themselves and the women who followed after.

In honor of Women's History Month, Kennedy Space Center hosted a panel discussion, "50 Years of Progress," on March 16, celebrating women and their accomplishments at the center. Held at Kennedy's Visitor Complex, the panel was made up of astronaut Nicole Scott, Launch Services Program Senior Mission Manager Wanda Harding, United Space Alliance's Patty Stratton, Dr. Merri Sanchez of Sierra Nevada Corp., Carol Craig of Craig Technologies, and former NASA employees Kathleen Harer and Judy Kersey. The event was moderated by WKMG-6 news anchor Lauren Rowe.

The women discussed the struggles and achievements it took to pave the way for the women of today.

"I think it is important to tell women that they can do more than become a nurse or a teacher, that they can become a scientist or even an engineer," Harding said.

In a centerwide letter addressing Women’s History Month, Kennedy Director Bob Cabana said, "I hope this will inspire each of us to do our part to mentor and encourage young women in our community to reach for the stars."

A common thread among the speakers was each had a strong interest to push the agency's initiative to encourage people to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

"We wanted to give the audience a diverse set of experiences as we celebrated their triumphs and learned from their tribulations," Speakers Bureau coordinator Amanda Griffin said.

Many of the women agreed that it took a lot of effort and struggle to get them where they are today. They said with perseverance and strength, they were able to pave the way where no women had gone before, breaking stereotypes and enabling them to go wherever their dreams led them.

Brittney Longley
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center