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Beth was originally from Roanoke, VA. She was always fascinated by space, and she grew up watching Star Trek and Star Wars, so she decided to become an astronaut.
After graduating as valedictorian from William Fleming High School in 1987, Beth studied physics and astronomy, while also participating in the "Showtime" Marching Band at Howard University, in Washington DC. During her summers, she interned at Goddard. Later, she learned that her nearsightedness would hurt her chances of being an astronaut. But her love for astronomy continued and she graduated summa cum laude from Howard University in 1991.
Beth continued her education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, she received a Master's Degree in Astronomy in 1994 (on elliptical galaxies) and obtained her Ph. D in 1998, becoming the first African-American woman to obtain a doctorate in Astronomy from that department at Michigan.
After completing her graduate work, Beth came to Goddard Space Flight Center as a National Academy of Science/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Post-Doctoral Research Associate. In 2001, she began her tenure as a Astrophysicist Fellow in the NASA Administrator's Fellowship Program (NAFP). While in that position she was named as Visiting Assistant Professor at Howard University. Her most recent position was as Assistant Director of Science Communication and Higher Education.
While at Goddard, Beth appeared on local and national news outlets and spoke in the community explaining complex scientific date and celestial events. Beth's other activities included participating in various Goddard outreach programs, educational/research programs and numerous seminars. She was also named one of the Women of NASA.
Beth also was very involved with Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington D.C., which she first joined while a Howard undergraduate. She was active in the Ushers, Dance, Deaf, Singles, and Young Adult Ministries. She also sang in the Woman's Day Choir and was active in the Shekinah Glory Bible Study.
February 4, 1969 - October 5, 2008
Space, Star Trek, and Star Wars
Physics and Astronomy
Howard University Showtime Marching Band
Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington DC
William Fleming High School, Roanoke Virginia
Howard University, Washington DC
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan