Journals from Space
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Sandra Magnus is a materials science engineer, a NASA astronaut, and a member of the Georgia Tech Materials Science and Engineering Advisory Board. Magnus, who returned to earth with the crew of STS-119 Discovery on March 28, 2009 after having spent 134 days in orbit, found time to re-visit the Georgia Tech campus in September. Presenting to women in engineering students on the Tech campus, Sandra Magnus confided she realized that she wanted to be an astronaut when she was in middle school. That would leave one to believe that she had a passion for engineering at an early age. This was not the case. Magnus' passion was physics, and it wasn’t until she attended the University of Missouri-Rolla as an undergraduate student that she discovered engineering. Magnus left UM-Rolla to pursue an engineering career in the "real world," taking a job with McDonald Douglas. When the program she was working on at McDonald Douglas was cancelled, Magnus returned to academics to pursue her Ph.D. at Georgia Tech in materials science and engineering. While at Tech, she realized her dream—she applied and was accepted into the NASA space program. Entertaining questions from the audience, Magnus stressed the importance of endurance and determination in meeting personal goals. Magnus explained that by just getting the interview with NASA, she felt she had "reached her goal and met her dream" of being an astronaut. "I knew," explained Magnus, "that I had done everything I could by just getting the call to interview. Getting the job was in someone else’s hands and out of my control." As time with the engineering students came to a close, Magnus offered this advice, "Once you spend a minute you can never get that minute back so find something you love and spend your minutes wisely."