Women in History – 11 October

2011 – International Day of the Girl Child

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations announced October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child to address girls’ unique challenges and right to a safe, educated, and healthy life. If supported socially and economically, girls can be a powerful source contributing to betterment of the world, promising a prosperous future.

1984 – During a Space Shuttle Challenger mission, Kathryn Sullivan becomes the first American woman to walk in space.

Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan (born October 3, 1951 in Paterson, New Jersey) is an American geologist and a former NASA astronaut. A crew member on three Space Shuttle missions, she is the first American woman to walk in space. She is the current Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 6, 2014.

Sullivan is a 1969 graduate of William Howard Taft High School in the Woodland Hills district of Los Angeles, California. She was awarded a bachelor of science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1973, and a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University in 1978.

While at Dalhousie she participated in several oceanographic expeditions that studied the floors of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In 1988, Sullivan joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as an oceanography officer, retiring with the rank of captain in 2006. She has served as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Before NASA, Sullivan worked in Alaska as an oceanographer.

Dr. Sullivan served as Payload Commander on STS-45, the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA‘s Mission to Planet Earth. During this nine-day mission, the crew operated the twelve experiments that constituted the ATLAS-I (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS-I obtained a vast array of detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties, which will contribute significantly to improving our understanding of our climate and atmosphere.

Sullivan left NASA in 1993. She flew on three space shuttle missions and logged 532 hours in space.