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When I got my PhD, it was a time when there were just no jobs for PhDs. Period. PhDs were getting the lowest paid technician jobs, if they were lucky, in any kind of science.
If you look at the whole thing, I think the most gratifying thing is my kids, without a doubt.
Basically, all my life I'd been told you can't do that because you're female. So I guess I just didn't pay any attention. I just went ahead and did what I could and then, when the stars aligned, I was ready.
I was really desperate. I don't know if you can remember back that far, but when I went to graduate school they didn't want females in graduate school. They were very open about it. They didn't mince their words. But then I got in and I got my degree.
I think that over the years, whether they want to admit it or not, people have to admit that the women astronauts have performed just as well as the men astronauts.
I try to tell the people that are sort of new here when they come in and do their flights and whatever, the things that you remember most after your flights are the interactions you've had with your crew. Those are the most satisfying things you take away from a flight.
It was just really, really tough getting anything when you were a female. Basically, I just took advantage of everything I could. But when people are going to flat out tell you they're not going to hire anyone that's female, there's not much you can do about it.
It was just using the liquid shampoo - the Russians have one very similar to the stuff we use on the Shuttle - you just wet your hair with it and then wipe it out.
Sometimes people here can get so focused on, Oh, I've got to get a flight, that it becomes the end all of everything. Then they go off and fly a couple of flights and they think, Okay, is that all there is in life? No, it's not. There's a whole big life out there.
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Michael P. Anderson
James A. Lovell
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