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Tracy Caldwell joins California State University’s eminent roster of graduates who rocket into space
(August 13, 2007) As the space shuttle Endeavour blasted into space last week with lead mission specialist and California State University, Fullerton graduate Tracy Caldwell on board, the university reflected on other CSU alums who have literally reached for the stars.
During the 11-day mission, Caldwell will help deliver cargo, spare parts, a new piece of the International Space Station’s (ISS) starboard-side truss, coordinate up to four space walks, and help wield the orbiter’s robotic arm.
“We are very proud of Dr. Caldwell and all the other ambitious CSU graduates who have gained the knowledge and have taken the inherent risks to help the U.S. space program flourish. They have been key players in continuing the exploration of space and demonstrating the human spirit,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
Caldwell received a bachelor in science degree in chemistry in 1993 from CSUF, where she constructed and implemented electronics and hardware associated with a laser-ionization, time-of-flight mass spectrometer for studying atmospherically relevant gas-phase chemistry. Also at CSUF, Caldwell worked for the Research and Instructional Safety Office as a lab assistant performing environmental monitoring of laboratories using hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials, as well as calibrating survey instruments and helping to process chemical and radioactive waste. She was also a sprinter and long jumper on the track team.
Caldwell is the latest of an elite group of astronauts to stem from CSU.
Continuing the Tradition
The CSU and other California universities have graduated these and numerous other successful science professionals over the decades. In 2004-05, CSU awarded 651 math, 1,930 biological sciences, and 516 physical sciences undergraduate degrees.
However, recent data shows that the state currently lacks enough teachers with the abilities to teach the next generation of science stars.
The report, Critical Path Analysis of California’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation System, recently released by the California Council on Science and Technology, found that nearly 40 percent of California’s new high school science teachers and 35 percent of beginning science teachers lack the training necessary for a teaching credential in the fields they teach.
To better these numbers, the CSU has developed the Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative.As a system, the CSU’s goal is to at least double the production of math and science teachers during the next five years. This means increasing from a baseline figure of approximately 750 new math and science teachers produced annually to a minimum of 1,500 new teachers produced in these fields.The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 417,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 86,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu
Last Updated: August 13, 2007