NASA Astronaut (Retired), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Board of Trustee Member, Embry-Riddle graduate (DB ’87), artist and advocate for Science and Art Education Nicole Stott will be the keynote speaker for the Prescott Campus’ commencement ceremony to be held Saturday, Dec. 17.
Featuring 130 students from the Prescott Campus and 55 of the Worldwide Campus, the Fall commencement will be at 10 a.m. at Prescott Valley Event Center, 3201 N. Main St., Prescott Valley, Ariz. The graduating class includes 13 Prescott students receiving military commissions: nine from Air Force ROTC, three from Army ROTC and one from Marine Corps ROTC.
Stott, who was elected to the Board of Trustees for the University in March 2012, currently serves as chair of the Academic Committee and is a member of the Executive and Flight Safety and Education committees.
In June 2015, Stott retired after almost 28 years with NASA to pursue her next adventure as an artist and advocate for Sci/Art Education, and a commitment to share her spaceflight experience with others. In addition to her board role with Embry-Riddle, she is also a board member for other educational and non-profit organizations (SciArt Exchange; ROOM: The Space Journal for AIRC; AOPA; Manna Energy Foundation; and Geeks Without Frontiers).
Stott earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus in 1987. In 1992, she earned an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida. After joining NASA in 1988, she held various engineering positions in Space Shuttle Operations at Kennedy Space Center and Shuttle Training Aircraft Operations at Johnson Space Center, before her selection for astronaut candidate training in 2000.
In preparation for spaceflight, Nicole spent time training with all of the International Space Station partners at their training facilities around the world. In 2006, she broke and still holds the women’s world record for the longest saturation dive of 18 days – having lived and worked on the Aquarius undersea research habitat during a NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission.
In 2009, she was a mission specialist on the STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery mission to the International Space Station (ISS), where she then transitioned to serve as a flight engineer for three months on ISS Expeditions 20 and 21. Among her many duties was a 6 1/2 hour spacewalk and she flew the first robotic capture of a free flying cargo spacecraft.
Stott’s second spaceflight — STS-133 in 2011 — made history not only as the Space Shuttle Discovery’s final flight, but also as a landmark event for Embry-Riddle. It was the first time two of the University’s graduates shared a space mission. Stott and Embry-Riddle alumnus B. Alvin Drew were crewmembers for the 13-day mission, which included two spacewalks by Drew, under Stott’s onboard direction. In addition to Stott and Drew, four other Embry-Riddle alumni are current or former astronauts.
The connection between Stott and Embry-Riddle is strong. She is a frequent speaker at the Embry-Riddle campuses, and is a member of the College of Engineering’s Industry Advisory Board. In 2009, she received the Alumni Eagle of Excellence Award. She was also the guest speaker at the May 2010 and 2015 commencement ceremonies, and was presented with the University’s Distinguished Speaker Award.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.