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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Relating NASA experiences to student life

Photo by Photo by Dalia Muayad

Astronaut Fred Gregory addresses Rudder Theatre and speaks about the importance of living life to its fullest. 

On Oct. 26, NASA astronaut Fred Gregory headlined a scholarship ceremony at Rudder Theater where he discussed the importance of experiencing life, having fun and making a difference.
The ceremony was attended by undergraduate and graduates students, as well as by students and teachers from area elementary, middle and high schools.
The event honored two A&M STEM majors, biomedical engineering senior Kendall Ezell and chemistry senior Brooke Versaw. The two received scholarships from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to continue their scientific education in graduate school.
Ezell, who will be pursuing dual degrees, said that the research opportunities she’s had at A&M have shaped her perspective and will assist her going forward.
“My experience over the past couple of years working in engineering, working in neuroscience, really has given me a diverse view of research from multiple perspectives,” Ezell said. “I’m very excited to continue on and pursue a dual degree as an M.D./Ph.D. student.”
Versaw said she is looking ahead to the opportunities in grad school and beyond and holds an optimistic outlook on the future.
“I’m honored to be an astronaut scholar and I’m thrilled and excited to be joining a community of scholars that are really passionate about research and about making the future of our country and our planet as bright as possible,” Versaw said.
After the scholarship presentation, astronaut Fred Gregory took the podium to offer advice to the two recipients and the assembled audience of students. He told stories of his time in the military and his recruitment into the space program, highlighting what he felt were the most important lessons he had learned along the way.
Gregory feels that in life you cannot underestimate the importance of taking time for yourself and being sure to breath when you need to, and expressed his frustrations at the times he had forgotten this himself.
“I was so wound up in my world that the rest of the world was passing me by,” Gregory said. “So one of the things that as I look back I realize, every once in awhile you have to take a breather, take a break.”
Gregory expressed the importance of truly loving what you do and making changes in your life when you’re no longer excited by where you are, by sharing his own experiences with his career.
“In my life I enjoy things and it was the enjoyment that kept me excited about doing something else,” Gregory said. “And when the enjoyment disappeared I tried to change to move into something else.”
Gregory also shared his experiences with not always knowing what he wanted to do. He assured the audience that this is normal, and encouraged the assembled students to follow their dreams.
“So you’ll see in my career there was lots of stops and starts, and I don’t think you should be afraid of that at all; that’s just part of your growth,” Gregory said. “One of the things you have to continue is dreaming. I’ll tell you, the dreams are the things that excite you and those are the things that will kind of lead you into the future.”
To conclude his talk, Gregory left the audience with one simple mantra which he says guided him throughout his career and into retirement.
“Whatever you do in life, have fun and make a contribution,” Gregory said. “Just have fun and make contributions.”

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