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NASA Astronaut and Former Caltech Postdoc Jessica Watkins to Discuss Her Journey to the International Space Station and More

Published on Mar 28, 2023

Astronaut Jessica Watkins, who in 2022 became the first Black woman on the International Space Station, will return to Caltech on April 7 to share the story of her career and her thoughts on space exploration.

The talk is free and open to the public and will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium. Pre-registration is recommended.

After earning her PhD at UCLA, Watkins, a planetary geologist, completed postdoctoral studies at Caltech. While at the Institute, she worked on the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s Curiosity rover with John Grotzinger, Caltech’s Harold Brown Professor of Geology and the Ted and Ginger Jenkins Leadership Chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.

NASA selected Watkins to join its astronaut program in 2017.

“My time at Caltech really did help shape who I am as a researcher as well as … enable me to be successful in this job,” Watkins said in a 2022 interview while still aboard the ISS, where she served for 170 days as a mission specialist on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

During her upcoming talk, she will recount adventures from her career so far and offer a glimpse of what lies ahead.

For more information, see the Institute calendar listing or email

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