Former NASA Scientist to Speak at WTAMU Freshman Convocation

Dr. Ellen Stofan, former chief scientist for NASA, will be the keynote speaker at West Texas A&M University’s Freshman Convocation at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 at the First United Bank Center.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating begins at 4 p.m.

Freshman Convocation is conducted each year as the official academic welcome to the freshman class. The event is modeled after commencement with faculty in regalia and designed to set a tone for academic success. The University began conducting the annual event in 2007, and speakers throughout the years have included Elie Wiesel, Khaled Hosseini, Kelsey Timmerman, Doc Hendley and more. This year’s convocation is honoring the WTAMU Class of 2021.

Stofan spent three years at NASA, where she served as principal adviser to the NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, on the agency’s science-related strategic planning and programs. During her tenure Stofan helped break down the barriers for women in science while working at the very frontiers of technology. In her presentation, Stofan argues for greater diversity in the STEM fields, demonstrates why space exploration is crucial for innovation and shows why studying nearby planets is key to combating climate change here on Earth.

She is an honorary professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London and a co-chair of the World Economic Space Council. She has received honorary degrees from Washington and Jefferson College, Meredith College and the College of William and Mary, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Explorers Club and the former chair of the College of William and Mary Foundation Board. Stofan also is an adviser to the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, Terra Alpha Investments and the Space Angels Venture Fund. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. from Brown University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of William and Mary.

For more information about WTAMU’s Freshman Convocation, contact Dr. Amy Andersen at 806-651-2931.


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