Press Release

Astronaut Delivers Keynote Address at National Conference

By SpaceRef Editor
November 19, 2003
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NASA astronaut John B. Herrington, a member of the
Chickasaw nation and the first Native American to walk in
space, will deliver the keynote address at the American Indian
Science & Engineering Society (AISES) 25th National
Conference.

The conference is at the Albuquerque, N.M. Convention Center
Nov. 20-22. Herrington’s spacewalk was in November 2002, from
the Space Shuttle Endeavour during a mission to the
International Space Station.

The society, with approximately 15,000 members, is a national,
non-profit group that seeks to link science and technology
with Native American values. It also fosters opportunities for
Native Americans to study science, engineering and technology
through educational programs. One of the society’s founders,
Jerry Elliott, an Osage-Cherokee, is a NASA engineer at the
Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston.

"It is important that we develop sufficient numbers of
technically and scientifically trained American Indians who
can guide our people in the future. What can be more exciting
and natural than to carry on the knowledge of medicines,
engineering and science that our ancestors knew but didn’t
label as such," Elliot said.

Elliott will also speak at the convention. He will receive the
distinction of being named a Sequoyah Fellow. It is an honor
named for the Cherokee who developed an alphabet and was
instrumental in making his nation literate in the 1820’s.
Elliott’s fellowship is bestowed for "contributions having
long-term positive impact for the American Indian community."

"The education goals of AISES and NASA’s efforts to encourage
youth to study technical subjects are complementary," said JSC
Director Jefferson Howell Jr. "Part of NASA’s mission is to
inspire the next generation of explorers, and we strive to
increase the diversity of our workforce," he said.

The NASA exhibit at the AISES Conference Career Fair,
coordinated by the Offices of Equal Opportunity Programs,
Education, and the Dryden Flight Research Center, is one of
the agency’s Corporate Recruitment Initiatives. NASA is
determined to attract and maintain a workforce capturing the
full potential of U.S. diversity. NASA is also addressing the
national need for a new generation skilled in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics.

For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

SpaceRef staff editor.