For Immediate Release
December 19, 2011
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Ricky Arnold Just the Latest "Best of the Best" Maryland Astronauts
Monette Bailey contributed to this article.
Halfway through the program, however, he realized that he preferred his science electives.
A year after graduation, Arnold joined the faculty at the Casablanca American School in Morocco to teach college preparatory biology and marine environmental science. In 1996, he and his family moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he taught middle and high school science and served as department chair at the American International School. While there, he learned of NASA's search for professional classroom teachers.
By then, he'd taught middle school math and science in West Papua, Indonesia, and at the American International School of Bucharest in Romania.
He was accepted by NASA in 2004. Arnold completed aquanaut training and spent 10 days on the Extreme Environment Mission Objectives project at Aquarius (right), the world's only undersea laboratory. The crew conducted experiments and operations in a simulated lunar outpost.
During a 14-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in March 2009, he completed two space walks to help install solar panels and a truss element at the International Space Station.
Arnold is a true Terp and continues to give back. Most recently, he came to campus in March, 2010 to speak to Maryland students and area high schoolers at the College of Education about his trip into space and why majoring in science and technology is so important.
Newsdesk had a chance to talk with Arnold about his upcoming commencement speech to the Class of 2011 and what he hopes to do in the future:
Q) If there was one thing you hope the Class of 2011 takes away from your speech, what would that be?
A) Our view from orbit is one of a beautiful planet with global challenges that don't recognize political boundaries. The way that nations cooperate in space provides an excellent model for how to tackle these problems. The Class of 2011 is well equipped to take on these challenges.
Q) There are so many changes going on with NASA - can (should!) young people still aspire to become astronauts?
A) Absolutely! We have a permanently staffed outpost in space that will remain operational until at least 2020. At that time, humans will hopefully begin taking those first tentative footsteps back out into the solar system. I have no doubt that humans will continue to push out into space - the desire to explore is part of what it means to be human.
Q) Can you explain a little more about what it is you are doing now - and what you might hope to do in the future?
A) Currently, as I wait in a pretty long line for my next spaceflight, I support the day to day operations on the International Space Station. I am also helping to train future space walkers for their upcoming flights to the ISS. Long term, I want to utilize my unique experiences at NASA to make sure that the mechanisms we use to deliver STEM education will successfully help us develop the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and astronauts!
THE REST OF THE STORY: MARYLAND'S ASTRONAUTS:
December 2011 Commencement Website
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