Kathy Sullivan


Trailblazing Astronaut and Scientist


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Kathy Sullivan

Women In Leadership

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has had a long career as a distinguished scientist, astronaut and executive. She was one of the first six women to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. Her submersible dive to the Challenger Deep in June of 2020 made her the first person to both orbit the planet and reach its deepest point, as well as the first woman to dive to full ocean depth.

Sullivan has held a variety of senior executive positions since leaving NASA, including presidential appointments to the National Science Board and as chief scientist and deputy administrator, and later administrator, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She currently serves on the boards of International Paper, Accenture Federal Services, the National Audubon Society and Terra Alpha Investments, and is a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Dr. Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Public Administration. She has been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Government Executive Hall of Fame, Women Aviators Hall of Fame, Women Divers Hall of Fame and Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. She was recognized as one of the 46 distinguished First Women by Time magazine (2017), one of the 15 Women Changing the World by the World Economic Forum (2015) and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People (2014). She has been awarded the Explorers Club Medal, the Rachel Carson Award, an Emmy and nine honorary degrees.

She is the author of the children’s book “To the Stars!” (Charlesbridge Press, 2016) and “Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut’s Story of Invention” (MIT Press, 2019).