WOMEN SHAPING HISTORY 2014
Ellen Baker, MD: Astronaut
What has inspired your current career path?
I never imagined that I could be an astronaut. When I was growing up, only boys were able to be astronauts. Nevertheless…somehow I felt I could do anything I set my mind to. When I was finishing medical school, I saw an article in the newspaper that NASA was accepting astronaut applications and women were urged to apply and I started to think about the possibility. Of course, it seemed an unreachable goal.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them?
My greatest challenges have been the goals I set and the expectations I have of myself. I think all women (and men) with busy jobs and families have great challenges every day. Both are full time jobs.
What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of?
I am very proud to have been a small part of America’s space program and feel very fortunate to have played much of that part as an astronaut.
Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?
My parents were unconditionally supportive. They taught me to work hard and do my best, and to enjoy success and learn from disappointment. It sounds simple, but it is so important to success in any arena.
What would you describe as a turning point in your life?
I have not had any “turning points”.My path has been a very circuitous one with some loops and lots of curves.
What are your goals for the future?
I retired from NASA two years ago and plan to return to work in the medical field.#