By Leah Allen -- This article originally appeared on the King Street Chronicle, the student-run Upper School newspaper.
Dr. Peggy Whitson, an astronaut who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) until June 2018, visited a Sacred Heart Greenwich Broadcast Journalism virtual class April 1. Dr. Whitson holds the United States record for the most cumulative days spent in space, and she offered advice to students who are transitioning to distance-learning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During her visit to the Broadcast Journalism class, Dr. Whitson answered questions about how she dealt with isolation while in space. She stressed the importance of maintaining a big-picture mindset when facing challenges.
“Remembering the big picture can help you overcome some of your obstacles in day to day life,” Dr. Whitson said. “I think for us now in isolation, we have to come to grips with the fact that it’s not the same. I think the bigger picture is that we are saving lives by this isolation, which should give us the motivation and incentive to continue.”
As an astronaut, Dr. Whitson completed a total of ten space walks, setting the record for the most spacewalks completed by a woman, and spent a total of 665 days in space. During her first trip to the International Space Station in 2002, Dr. Whitson conducted 21 science investigations and became NASA’s first Space Station Science Officer. n 2008, she became the first female astronaut to be named commander of the International Space Station, according to nasa.gov.