To the Stratosphere
Austin Peay sends off dolls to celebrate women in STEM
Austin Peay State University and the College of STEM recently celebrated women in science by launching a high-altitude balloon carrying two dolls adorned in American Girl NASA space suits.
The dolls reached 93,914 feet at 11:13 a.m. Jan. 24. Balloon project team members hoped the launch helped raise awareness about the challenges of women rising in their fields of study.
“While growing up, I never really thought of myself as being good at mathematics or physics, the really difficult STEM fields, but being able to do this and having a successful launch, being the lead on it, having that responsibility, it feels good,” Megan McCracken, team leader for the High-Altitude Balloon Team, said.
McCracken is pursuing a degree in physics after earning amaster’s in genetics and parasitology. Her goal is to become a professor, educating the next generation of scientists.
“Today was for the women of STEM, getting our name out there and saying we support the women of science, that we support anyone in science, that they have the potential to achieve big things in their field,” she said. “It was having that picture of women in astronaut suits, being out therewith the curvature of the Earth.”
The team launched the balloon at 9:52 a.m. Jan. 24 from the Austin Peay Farm and Environmental Education Center on Pickens Road in Clarksville.