Kathryn D. Sullivan
Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan (born October 3, 1951 in Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...

) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...

 and a former NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

. A crew member on three Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 missions, she is the first American woman to walk in space.


Sullivan is a 1969 graduate of Taft High School in Woodland Hills
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Woodland Hills is a district in the city of Los Angeles, California.Woodland Hills is located in the southwestern area of the San Fernando Valley, east of Calabasas and west of Tarzana, with Warner Center in its northern section...

, California. She was awarded a bachelor in science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Santa Cruz
The University of California, Santa Cruz, also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC, is a public, collegiate university; one of ten campuses in the University of California...

 in 1973, as well as a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 from Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University is a public research university located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The university comprises eleven faculties including Schulich School of Law and Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. It also includes the faculties of architecture, planning and engineering located at...

 in 1978.

Military career

Sullivan served as an oceanography officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

. She has served as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

Before NASA, Sullivan worked in Alaska as an oceanographer.

NASA career

Sullivan performed the first EVA
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 by an American female during Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California...

 mission STS-41-G
STS 41-G was the 13th flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the sixth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. Challenger launched on 5 October 1984, and conducted the second shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center on 13 October...

 on October 11, 1984. She flew on three space shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 missions and logged 532 hours in space.

After NASA

After leaving NASA, Sullivan served as President and CEO of the COSI Columbus, an interactive science center in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

. Dr. Sullivan currently serves as Director for Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

's Battelle
Battelle Memorial Institute
Battelle Memorial Institute is a private nonprofit applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Battelle is a charitable trust organized as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio and is exempt from taxation under Section 501 of the...

 Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy and as a volunteer science advisor to COSI. She was appointed to the National Science Board
National Science Board
The National Science Board of the United States is composed of 25 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, representing the broad U.S. science and engineering community. The Board establishes the policies of the National Science Foundation within the framework...

 by President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in 2004.

In 2004, Sullivan was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Also in 2004, Sullivan received the Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, Illinois was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. Adler was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler, with the assistance of the first director of the planetarium, Philip Fox...

 Women in Space Science Award.

In 2009, Sullivan was elected to a three-year term as the Chair of the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering for the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...


In January 2011, The White House sent to the Senate the nomination of Sullivan by President Barack Obama to be an assistant secretary of commerce. Sullivan was first nominated in December 2010, but because the Senate didn't approve her nomination and a bevy of others forwarded late in December, the White House renewed the formal requests.

On May 4, 2011, Dr. Sullivan, was confirmed by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate and appointed by President Obama to serve as assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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