Doctor Roberta Bondar
Born in December of 1945, Doctor Roberta Bondar was interested in space from a young age. She is quoted as saying: “When I was eight years old, to be a spaceman was the most exciting thing I could imagine.” Her early interest in science prompted her father to build a laboratory for her to conduct experiments. Doctor Bondar led her high school science team and worked as a science researcher during the summers. She was also involved in a variety of activities as a youth, including photography.
Although some tried to dissuade her from pursuing science as a career due to her gender, Doctor Bondar entered a scientific field anyway. Once she had finished post secondary education, Doctor Bondar had a Bachelor of Science in zoology and agriculture, a Master of Science in experimental pathology, a PhD in neuroscience, and a Doctor of Medicine. This education provided the basis for her work as a researcher and neurologist, specializing in the nervous system. She also worked in a variety of other scientific positions in universities and hospitals.
Doctor Bondar applied an was accepted in 1983 to the Canadian Astronaut program, partly because of her relevant work in neurology. Her training for space flight was in both Canada, and in the United States of America from NASA. In 1992, Doctor Bondar left earth on a NASA mission on the space shuttle Discovery. This made her the first female Canadian astronaut, second Canadian astronaut, and first neurologist in space. She was given the responsibility of carrying out a large variety of life-sciences experiments. Much of her research in space involved the effects of microgravity on the human body. After returning to Earth, Doctor Bondar continued her research in the effects of microgravity and used information from spaceflights to apply to medicine on the ground.
After retiring from being an astronaut, Doctor Bondar studied photography and published several books of both photography and writing. She established her own not-for-profit, The Roberta Bondar Foundation, whose mission is environmental education through art. Her interest in environmental protection and education continues to this day, and she promotes the health of people and planet.