Give yourself challenges that are exciting, and be available to help others. There is no better feeling than helping someone else.
After completing her B.S. degree at Syracuse University in 1978, Eileen Collins joined the U.S. Air Force and attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB. She earned her wings and spent three years as an instructor before transitioning to the C-141 Starlifter.
She next earned master’s degrees in Operations Research from Stanford (1986) and in Space Systems Management (1989) from Webster University. Next, Collins was a flight instructor and taught mathematics at the Air Force Academy before becoming only the second female graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School.
NASA selected her as an astronaut in 1990 and she became the first female Space Shuttle pilot on Mission STS-63. On her third spaceflight, Collins made history again when she became the first female Commander on STS-93. She also commanded the STS-114 mission which marked the return to flight following the Columbia accident. Collins retired from NASA in 2006 and has served on several boards and advisory panels.