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Mentor Connections Across the Globe and Beyond

Astronaut Eileen Collins shares why she continues to return to her alma mater and the lessons she can share from her time exploring the unknown.

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and former NASA space shuttle commander Eileen Collins ’78, H’01 rose through the NASA ranks to become the first woman to both pilot and command space shuttle missions. Today, Collins’ mission includes returning to the Syracuse University campus to bring the lessons she’s learned along the way to the next generation of explorers and thinkers. Elliot Salas ’24, an electrical engineering student pursuing a career in space travel, got the opportunity to meet Collins. “For a famous astronaut, she’s surprisingly down to Earth,” he says of the inspirational figure in his life.

Also of Interest

Elliott Salas poses for portrait outside of campus building.

Written in the Stars

A first-generation student is using the 4+1 electrical engineering program to spark a career in space travel.

Eileen Collins in the cockpit of a spacecraft.

A Pioneering Space Traveler’s Tale

Syracuse University alumna and veteran reflects on her extraordinary journey as a trailblazing test pilot, astronaut and space shuttle commander.