Erie women share their thoughts on all-female spacewalk

Local News

For the first time in history, two women reached a milestone, taking part in a space walk that lasted more than seven hours.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did just that, creating a moment that has never been done before.

Back home in Erie, women are looking to continue and strengthen STEM research.

Charlotte Devrise, Mechanical Engineering Professor at Penn State Behrend says, “Anyone who is excited or enthusiastic about STEM can enter the field and not have any barriers to them. The difficulty is at this point, I still have had classes where I am the only women in the room.”

That didn’t stop Professor DeVries from gaining her own first hand experience.

She worked with professionals at NASA for a faculty fellowship.

“That was a real neat aspect of it. Where I didn’t feel any of the discrepancies of genders. It was that ideal world, where everyone is working and everyone is working as a team,” DeVries said.

Even for Ashley Trott, a student at Penn State Behrend, who has had dreams of working for NASA.

“To see women being able to do that it kind of solidifies your childhood dream. The dream of putting on that white NASA astronaut suit or even working to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” Trott added.

Even for those whose goals don’t include NASA, Friday’s achievement is seen as an important movement forward as more and more women prepare for STEM careers.

Jamie Babiak, Director of Pharmacy for LECOM Successful Aging says, “Having a background that falls between math, science, technology and engineering makes a woman more confident in having those problem solving skills that can match those of anyone else in the industry,” Babiak said.

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