Down-to-earth message of support for today’s youth Former astronaut Dunbar says kids need inspiration, care to succeed By MARK KLAAS

The former astronaut finds herself on a different mission these days.

  • Saturday, April 12, 2008 12:00am
  • News

Dr. Bonnie Dunbar

The former astronaut finds herself on a different mission these days.

Dr. Bonnie Dunbar no longer orbits the Earth aboard a NASA Space Shuttle, but follows an important course today as community leader and mentor to deserving youth.

“The mission is so critical right now as we look at the future of our nation,” said Dunbar, a veteran of five space missions aboard four different shuttles. She returned to her native Washington three years ago to lead the Museum of Flight as president and CEO.

“It doesn’t matter if they are not all going to be scientists, engineers and astronauts,” she said. “What matters is we help shape them for the future and give them an inspiration, a goal, an opportunity and a chance at success.”

Dunbar, as the keynote speaker at the Federal Way & Auburn Boys and Girls Club and EX3 Teen Center’s annual “Breakfast for Kids” fundraiser at Emerald Downs, expressed the importance of supporting youth.

Brock Huard, former Seattle Seahawk and University of Washington quarterback, delivered a similar message as guest speaker.

More than 400 community members attended Tuesday’s event, raising a record $55,000. Proceeds will aid student scholarships as well as educational, cultural and sports programs that benefit more than 3,500 youths in South King County.

In Dunbar’s view, kids need considerable care and guidance to succeed in today’s challenging world. Dunbar – as a girl growing up in a large family on a cattle ranch in the rural community of Outlook – received a strong foundation that launched a distinguished career.

“I learned very early on that it’s not what you have in terms of material wealth that makes a difference in your life,” Dunbar said. “It’s the people who help inspire you, who believe in you as you come forward.

“I had an experience that many of our youth I think today don’t have.”

From an early age, Dunbar had a dream to build spaceships and explore the stars. That dream eventually became a reality.

She went on earn bachelor and master’s degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington and a doctorate in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston.

She held research and engineering positions with The Boeing Co., Harwell Laboratories and Rockwell International until 1978, when she joined NASA as a flight controller. Two years later, in 1980, she was selected as a NASA mission specialist astronaut.

Dunbar has logged 1,208 hours – more than 50 days – in orbit aboard the shuttles Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia and Endeavour.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Former VRFA Administrator Eric Robertson to run for 31st District seat

Former Valley Regional Fire Administrator Eric Robertson has announced his candidacy for… Continue reading

Closures on I-5 in SeaTac for Federal Way Link construction

Along southbound lanes over three weeks

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

Robert Whale / Auburn Reporter
                                Protesters confront Auburn police Tuesday evening in downtown Auburn.
Hundreds gather at Auburn City Hall to protest death of George Floyd

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered on the Auburn City Hall… Continue reading

Courtesy photo 
                                In this image from the 2019 Auburn Farmers Market, Ballesteros Produce displays its goods.
Auburn Farmers Market opens June 7

In early May, the city of Auburn announced it had received approval… Continue reading

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

File photo
Misbehaving woman banned from Auburn gas station | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Auburn police log.

Screenshot from a YouTube video posted Monday by the City of Auburn with a message from Mayor Nancy Backus and other city officials.
Looting hits Auburn mall and nearby stores; mayor imposes 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

Auburn is among the King County cities seeing protests over the death… Continue reading

Screenshot of the city’s Facebook page.
Auburn enacts curfew in response to protests and looting

Mayor Nancy Backus declared a state of emergency for the city of… Continue reading

Most Read