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Mother, daughter celebrate women astronauts and breaking barriers

A mother shares how being an astronaut is helping her inspire women everywhere, and her young daughter, to believe there is no limit to their goals.
Mother, daughter celebrate women astronauts and breaking barriers
Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 30, 2023

Astronaut and payload specialist Kellie Gerardi says that when her young daughter draws an astronaut, she draws a woman. For Gerardi, she knows that breaking barriers for women pursuing STEM education and going into scientific fields — like becoming an astronaut — is very possible. 

In late October, Gerardi went into space on the Galactic 5 research mission, studying a number of firsts, like the first time a continuous glucose monitor operated in space. 

The Jupiter, Florida native went on a same-day science flight with the challenge of conducting scientific experiments in a short time window. 

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Gerardi said at the time, "We have choreography sort of down to the second, and we really try to maximize the science return, so every single second counts."

Gerardi was given a note written by her daughter, who told her that she couldn't open it until she was up in space. In the letter, her daughter wrote that she loved her mother and said she was waving to her from Earth. 

"Seeing humans, and her parents, off the planet, is just extraordinary," Gerardi said. 

She said the role she has in encouraging young women and girls to pursue careers in STEM education fields is important. Gerardi said her daughter really believes STEM career paths are possible, and said it is a paradigm shift from when she was growing up. 

"That's something that I really wanted to model for my daughter," she said. 

Gerardi said she is still working on compiling data from her time in space and the multiple experiments she conducted while on the mission. 

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