Bonnie Dunbar, leader of the UH STEM Center and professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering in the Cullen College of Engineering, will join the ranks of Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride as the latest member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Dunbar, along with Curt Brown and Eileen Collins, will be inducted to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on April 20 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando, Fla.
Dunbar earned her Ph.D. from the Cullen College of Engineering before embarking on her 27-year-long career at NASA, where she soared into space on the Challenger, the Columbia, the Atlantis, and the Endeavor. While at NASA, Dunbar served as shuttle mission specialist and payload commander for five space flights between 1985 and 1998.
Since her space flight career, Dunbar has devoted much of her time and energy to increasing and fortifying the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pipeline in the U.S., even serving as President and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Seattle prior to joining UH.
Her primary goal as leader of the UH STEM Center is to strengthen and support STEM-related educational programs for children of all ages – from kindergarteners to high school seniors.
“Developing a pipeline for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and is a critical component to helping our nation win the future,” Dunbar said. To address the grand challenges of this great country, we need the new ideas, new companies and new industries created by STEM careers. This has been historically, and will be in the future, the key to great progress in the United States.”