Out Of This World: NASA Accepts Black Scientist Jessica Watkins Into Its Astronaut Program

Photo by Courtesy of Robert Markowitz / NASA
Jessica Watkins realizes she's "standing on the shoulders of giants."

In December 2015, NASA announced that they were accepting applications for their two-year astronaut program. From the 18,300 people that applied, twelve made the cut.

RELATED: NASA announces First Black Crew Member aboard The International Space Station   

One of those individuals is Jessica Watkins.

According to her NASA bio, the Colorado native has a Geological and Environmental Sciences degree from Stanford University and a Geological and Environmental Sciences from UCLA.

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Before being accepted in the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, Watkins worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was a collaborator on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

"Since the age of 9, I wanted to be an astronaut," Watkins told BET. "I was originally inspired by an after-school enrichment program at Judith Resnik Elementary."

RELATED: Jessica Chastain's NASA Series Stirs Up Controversy Due To Hidden Figures Similarities 

Excited to potentially go into space, Watkins also realizes that this wouldn't be possible if not for women like Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson who inspired Hidden Figures.

"I watched the movie knowing there was a possibility I could be doing the same thing," she said. "It's pretty amazing to know I couldn’t have gotten here without standing on the shoulders of giants."

This is what we mean when we say Black Girl Magic! Congratulations and good luck to Watkins!

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