Stephanie Diana Wilson, the only child of Barbara and Eugene Wilson arrived on planet earth in Pittesfield, Mass. on Sept 27, 1966. She is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She flew on her first mission in space on board the Space Shuttle mission STS-121, and is the second African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison.
Stephanie is a spiritual, tenacious, energetic, positive, humble, artistic, nice, intentional and efficient young woman who at age 13 began her journey toward a career that would take her to outer space. In middle school, Wilson interviewed an Astronomy professor. In a press conference on STS-131 she remarked that this was one of her early exposures to space. Wilson graduated from Taconic High School, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1984. She attended Harvard University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in engineering science in 1988. Wilson earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, in 1992. Wilson has returned to Harvard as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. She was the Chief Marshal for the 362nd Harvard Commencement on May 30, 2013
For Pittsfield, Mass, it may be important to claim not only that it is the worldwide headquarters of KB toys, & home of the author of Moby Dick, but the home of the galactic ally renown astronaut Wilson.
For African Methodists around the globe, it may be important to know that she found us first via St. Paul in Cambridge, Mass (under Rev. Leroy Attles) and has found an AME church everywhere since then – Shorter in Denver; Metropolitan in DC, an AME Church in Austin; Reedy Temple in Houston, and us here – yes Ward – Los Angeles. She was an active member at Ward until being selected for the Astronaut program in Texas in 1996.
For young people, it may be important to meet Stephanie & hear about her journey, during a time when persevering to achieve a goal is almost forgotten,
While is the LA area Stephanie found a friendly, family like church with young people who had a sense of purpose and were unashamed of their relationship with God. She found elders who would mentor and nurture her, inviting her to the choir ministry, electing her to the trustee ministry, and embracing her talents in the lay organization ministry. And when Stephanie announced that she was going to pursue the “stars” not Hollywood, but the stars that God planted in the heavens, yes… Ward gave a send off like our ancestors gave when the first child left the nest.
On July 4, 2006, astronaut Stephanie Wilson lifted off on mission sts – 121, a trained engineer, a grounded sister, an anointed Christian woman who during that flight “did her thing” professionally, while proclaiming who she is by having the universe take note as NASA played, “I believe I can fly” and the “Negro national anthem”. Wilson has flown on three shuttle missions. After STS-121, Wilson flew aboard as a mission specialist. She also flew on the STS-120 mission that delivered the Harmony connecting module to the International Space Station. In April 2010, Wilson flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-131.
Today, we say job well done, astronaut Stephanie, but more importantly we are glad that you have let God use you in a mighty powerful way. Stephanie lives in the Houston area and is a member of Reedy Temple AME Church.