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Jessica Watkins is NASA’s newest Black astronaut candidate

By Tanasia Kenney, Atlanta Black Star

Meet Jessica Watkins, the sole Black woman in NASA’s newest class of astronaut candidates who’s slated to take Black Girl Magic to infinity and beyond — or at least to Mars.

On June 7, the space agency announced its first class of astronaut candidates since 2013, boasting 12 notable candidates from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, and fields of study, the Huffington Post reported. Watkins, 29, was among the latest crop of aspiring space travelers who beat out over 18,000 other applicants — the most NASA has ever had — to be picked for the 2017 class.

The LaFayette, Colo., native earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, where she briefly majored in mechanical engineering before shifting gears to focus her studies on planetary geology. She went on to earn her doctorate in geology from UCLA, after which she began working with the Mars Curiosity rover team, according to NASA.



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