Friday, February 12, 2010

This is what a crazy bitch looks like...

***Note the haircut on this woman. I have known three crazy bitches with this same, black-colored, straight-"I-have-absolutely-no sense-of-style" bangs. It must be a sign, so beware!***

Today, a female professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville shot six of her co-workers, murdering three of them on the spot. (One of them had been my former anatomy and physiology professor.) For a while, the media was emphasizing how distraught Dr. Bishop must've been to get denied tenure. But she was denied tenure nearly a year ago. This could not have been a crime of passion. And, she sat through a faculty meeting for at least 30 minutes before opening fire on her unarmed co-workers. How insane is that?!

Did the victims know that this woman was crazy? No one knew (until now) that she had shot her own brother in the chest with a shotgun in 1986. Her mother helped convince local police that it was an accident, so the young Dr. Bishop never went to court for what she did. Holy crap! How does a U.S. citizen shoot and kill a family member without ever paying a price? Where's the justice here?

UAH is currently missing 6 biology professors. Three were shot dead, one is in critical care, one is receiving medical treatment, and one is in jail. The campus will be closed for a week. As a former student from UAH and as a current biology instructor, I send out my heartfelt regards.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Space Shuttle Launch STS-95

T-minus 10 minutes to lift off! Here I am standing on the shore at Cape Canaveral, just minutes before the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery and my diatom payload.

I was 22-years-old when I flew my first experiment on the Space Shuttle. The mission was STS-95, which just so happened to be the John Glenn-return-to-space flight. AND, if that wasn't exciting enough, he was the astronaut trained to operate the hardware for my experiment!

I was an undergraduate at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which is a Space Grant University. I had decided to go to school there because of all the exciting space activity associated with the University. As it turns out, I could not have made a better choice for myself.

In 1997, I traveled with a group of engineering students to the NASA Johnson Space Center, where we spent two weeks training to fly ourselves and an experiment on NASA's KC-135, aka the "Vomit Comet." The following year, I flew with another experiment on the KC-135. During October of that same year, 1998, I flew a biological experiment with diatoms (golden-brown algae) on the Shuttle Discovery (although I did not get to fly with them, sadly!)

My experiences as an undergraduate were incredible; my mentors at UAH gave me the invaluable opportunity to work with three separate microgravity experiments prior to graduating from college. I am sincerely grateful to Dr. Douglas Feikema, for allowing me to participate in the KC-135 program for two years in a row. I am humbled and thankful to Dr. Charles Lundquist for his guidance and the opportunity to design and fly my own experiment on the Space Shuttle. And I am grateful to Dr. Marian Lewis for her science advice, and for allowing me to use her lab space and equipment.