Dorothy “Dottie” Metcalf-LindenburgerMother, retired NASA-Astronaut, Educator and Geologist
How on Earth does a high school teacher from a small town end up orbiting our planet 238 times?
With math and science teachers for parents, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger was drawn to learning and exploration from an early age.
The hard-won success of legends Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan – and later the tragedy of teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe – made indelible impressions on her. So did a childhood visit to Space Camp, where Dottie purchased, and later built, a model of the Space Shuttle Discovery — an almost prophetic choice.
As a high school science teacher, Dottie found herself on the NASA website, researching a question for a student (“How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?”). That random moment led her to applying to become an astronaut, and – ultimately – to space. Exactly 20 years after building that model of the Discovery Space Shuttle, Dottie rode the actual Discovery Shuttle to the ISS.
After living in outer space – while juggling life as a spouse and mother! – Dottie dove into another extreme. As the commander of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 16, she led an international crew in this underwater habitat of aquanauts and habitat technicians. They simulated spacewalks that helped inform future space research and exploration.
Committed to Spaceship Earth, Dottie went on to become a geologist who investigated and treated impacted or contaminated groundwater, soil, and sediments.
Now, as the 53rd woman and one of only four educator astronauts to fly in space, Dottie brings a perspective in her speaking programs that only those who’ve left Earth can share. Companies like Microsoft, BCG, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and myriad biotech firms – along with trade associations and schools – rely on Dottie to learn about realizing bold dreams in a beautiful, chaotic world.
At the herCAREER Academy
From a Big Dream to Reality: How I ended up in Space