WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- NASA’s 2004 astronaut candidate class includes Whitman alum and high school science teacher Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger.

Metcalf-Lindenburger, one of three teachers in the 11-member class, earned a degree in geology in 1997 from Whitman. A teacher and cross country coach at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, Washington, she was looking on the internet for the answer to a student’s question. While trying to find out how “astronauts use the bathroom in outer space,” she saw that the position for astronaut educator had been posted, and “I got so excited. It seemed so perfect.”

Metcalf-Lindenburger learned in April that she had been accepted to begin astronaut training this summer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Her class will join the current corps of more than 100 astronauts who now train there. At age 29 she is the youngest of the 2004 class of astronaut candidates, which includes “pilots and engineers who will help us develop the next generation vehicle, scientists who will do research to help humans live and travel in space and three new educator astronauts to help ensure a new generation is ready for the challenges of exploration,” said NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe.

Metcalf-Lindenburger grew up in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and went to Ft. Collins High School. While at Whitman she was a scholar-athlete who captured the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges (NCIC) track title in the 10,000 meter race. She also competed on Whitman’s women’s cross country team.

In her new position as astronaut educator, Metcalf-Lindenburger said she sees herself as a teacher for all people now. “A lot of kids aren’t necessarily interested in science and math,” she said. “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.

“People are doing great things with their lives to further science,” she added. “I hope to bring the community into what’s going on.”

CONTACT:

Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
Email: parishlj@whitman.edu