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Commander & Astronaut Susan Kilrain Debuts at Society of Skeptics 
Paula Hong '16

What do you want to be when you grow up? An astronaut. It’s what many children dream of becoming. Yet, the chance of actually becoming one is between  0.04 and 0.08 percent, according to The Verge. On Tuesday, April 26, a member of that elite class, Navy commander and NASA astronaut Susan Kilrain P '20 '23, joins the Blair community to encourage students to keep pursuing their biggest dreams.

Ms. Kilrain will join students at in the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration (CECIC) to reveal some of her secrets for defying the odds and what it is like to travel in space. She believes it is important to share her experiences while also commenting on where she sees the national space program heading.

Not only does Ms. Kilrain look forward to recounting her experiences as a naval officer and astronaut, she also wants to express what it was like to serve as a distinguished Navy test pilot, aerospace engineer and experienced world traveler.

Ms. Kilrain is the youngest person, and one of only three women, to ever pilot a space shuttle. Additionally, she served twenty years as an officer in the U.S. Navy and has flown more than 3,000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft. For her service, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded her with the Defense Superior Service Medal, as she paved the way for young women to follow in her footsteps.

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.

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