Saturday, December 13, 2008

Six Degrees Of Separation

Jacques The Penguin's bearer was Dr. Sally E. Walker, Professor of Geology and Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia. We began conversing at the Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks, in part because we both had American accents, and because I began getting interested in Jacques the Stuffed Penguin. Dr. Walker described herself as a geologist interested in Antarctica.

What are the chances? What are the chances? Women geologists interested in Antarctica....

So I said I knew another geologist interested in Antarctica: Rebekah Shepard. Dr. Walker's mouth dropped open in shocked surprise: we both knew Rebekah! "Why I just wrote a letter of recommendation for her to enter NASA's astronaut program," she said. She added: "Being an astronaut is Rebekah's lifelong dream!"

I know Rebekah, of course, through DMTC ("Grease", "Anything Goes", "Mame"). Rebekah had been working on her Ph.D. in Geology at UC Davis while doing DMTC shows.

Rebekah currently is in Canada learning how to pilot one-person submersibles, in order to do research in the pristine ice-covered lakes of Antarctica's Dry Valleys.

Of course, being an astronaut was always my dream when I was a kid, and the dream of my classmates, but Rebekah may be the only person ever in my acquaintance ever to have a real shot at threading that needle, and actually becoming one.

The best to Rebekah: one multi-talented woman!

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