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By David Pickle
In choosing a keynote speaker for the 2012 NCAA Convention, Division II reached for the stars.
NASA astronaut Sandra Magnus will address the Division II general session at the 2012 NCAA Convention.
Sandra Magnus, a NASA astronaut and former student-athlete at Missouri S&T, will address the Division II general session, which will take place from 9:45-10:45 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13. Magnus will speak later that day at the Division II chancellors and presidents lunch.
Magnus was selected as an astronaut in 1996 and has logged three trips into space. The first, on Mission STS-112 aboard the shuttle Atlantis in 2002, lasted for almost 11 days. The second, on Mission STS-126 aboard Endeavour, took her to the International Space Station, where she spent 4.5 months in 2008-09. Finally, again aboard Atlantis, Magnus returned to the ISS in July 2011 to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts, among other things. STS-135 was the 135th and final mission of NASA’s space-shuttle program and lasted almost 13 days.
In addition to her spaceflight, Magnus has served at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., working with the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Also, in May 1998, she was assigned as a “Russian Crusader,” which involved traveling to Russia in support of hardware testing and operational products development.
Her experience also has included survival training and a 2006 undersea expedition.
At Missouri S&T (known as Missouri-Rolla during Magnus’ time there), Magnus majored in physics as an undergraduate. She also earned a master’s in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T.
She was a standout member of the soccer team, where she was recognized as a top defender. Magnus won four letters and guided the Miners to a 31-27-2 record during the program’s first four years. Magnus, who was inducted into the Missouri S&T Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003, anchored a defense that allowed a little more than a goal a game during her first four years, including just 14 during the 1983 season when Missouri S&T posted a 10-5 record.
After leaving Missouri S&T, Magnus worked for five years for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft as a stealth engineer, focusing on internal research and development studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques. She also was assigned to the Navy’s A-12 attack aircraft program, working on the propulsion system.
She earned her doctorate at Georgia Tech in 1996, completing her thesis work on investigations on materials of interest for Scandate thermionic cathodes. While there, where earned the outstanding graduate teaching award in 1994 and 1996.
In addition to several team, teaching and alumni awards, Magnus has been recognized with the NASA Space Flight Medal (2002, 2009) and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2009).