Abigail Harrison | Srivideo
Born/Date of Birth: June 11, 1997
Place of Birth: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Education: Wellesley College, University of Minnesota, South High School
Known for: Astronaut Abby
Fields: Astrobiology, science communicator
Institutions: The Mars Generation, Wellesley College, Schuerger Lab
Abigail "Abby" Harrison (born June 11, 1997) popularly known as Astronaut Abby, is an American advocate for STEAM education, particularly in the area of the United States space program. She is a scientist, internet personality, public speaker, writer, science communicator, and a student at Wellesley College, Massachusetts majoring in Astrobiology and Russian Area Studies. [Note: Astrobiology is a self-defined major at Wellesley College]. Harrison is best known as an aspiring astronaut with a goal to be the first person to set foot on Mars.
Harrison is the founder and leader of The Mars Generation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to excite young people and adults about human space exploration and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education and foster an understanding of the importance of these two elements to the future of humankind on Earth. As of August 2017, Harrison and The Mars Generation have amassed over one million followers on their combined social media channels.
Harrison was born June 11, 1997, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Harrison grew up with one older sister and her mother. For as long as Harrison can remember, she has dreamed of becoming the first person to set foot on Mars. Harrison attended Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools for K-12 education. Growing up, Harrison valued education and her enthusiasm to learn led her to expand her education with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and learning opportunities before and after school as well as attending multiple STEM summer camps.
Harrison attended Field Middle School where she was a member of her school's top-ranked Science Bowl team, created an award-winning State History Day Project titled Debate and Diplomacy: The History of the ISS and participated in the school's Girls In Engineering Math and Science Program (GEMS).
Harrison graduated in 2015 from South High School with high honors. During her junior and senior year in high school Harrison attended the University of Minnesota as part of a highly competitive dual enrollment post secondary education program operated by the State of Minnesota. During high school Harrison spent much of her time taking advanced classes in math, engineering, and science. Harrison also participated in the state's Model UN program and Youth in Government Programs, served as a captain of her gymnastics team, and was a varsity member of the dive team and track and field team.
Harrison graduated in 2019 from Wellesley College. She pursued astrobiology (self-made major) and Russian Area Studies degrees. She intends to pursue a graduate education and eventually receive her doctorate degree in astrobiology. She plans to become a PhD scientist and astronaut.
The Mars Generation
In 2015, Harrison founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit called The Mars Generation and currently serves as the President of the Executive Board. The mission of The Mars Generation is to educate and inspire young people and adults about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and human space exploration. The Mars Generation provides several programs including a Student Space Ambassador Program, Outreach Program, and offers a full paid Space Camp Scholarship Program. The Mars Generation is volunteer-driven with executive and advisory boards of leaders from the space industry including astronauts, engineers scientists as well as nonprofit, education, and business sectors.
The Mars Generation has been invited to partner with multiple space organizations and attend events around the world to share their work and excite people about human space exploration and STEM education as well as to inspire the next generation to dream big. Partnerships and events include the Project Space Forum in the United Arab Emirates hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai , the Humans to Mars Summit hosted by Explore Mars in Washington D.C., Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in Washington D.C., National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., NASA's Digital Learning Network Online., South by Southwest (SXSW) Generation Z (GenZ) panel, National Geographic and National Geographic Kids, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the NASA visitor center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Lake Baikal Research Expedition
During summer of 2016, Harrison was accepted by Wellesley College to take part in a scientific research expedition to Siberia's Lake Baikal. Harrison was part of a 12 student cohort working with Wellesley Professor Marianne Moore, in collaboration with a team of 15 scientists from the United States and Russia, in a long term study exploring the effect of climate change on Lake Baikal. During the research project, Harrison used grazer exclusion pens to study the effect the vast grazer populations in Lake Baikal have on the growth of algae. On October 31, 2016, Harrison and her research partners, presented a paper on the topic of "Stream Delivery of Nutrients into Lake Systems and Resulting in Eutrophication" at the Wellesley College Tanner Conference.
In June 2017, Harrison began working as an intern in the Mars Lab of Dr. Andrew Schuerger of the University of Florida located in the Space Life Sciences Labs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Her research focuses on the search for life on Mars, through characterizing the limits of growth by terrestrial microorganisms under Martian conditions. Dr. Schruerger and his team have successfully grown 31 bacteria (but no fungi or archaea) under Martian conditions. Harrison's work will help contribute to several ongoing projects pertaining to the growth of S. liquefaciens under simulated Martian conditions.
In 2011, at the age of 13, Harrison began to speak publicly about her dream of being the first astronaut to walk on Mars. Her work over the years as an international STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and space ambassador has led to a following of over 1,000,000 people on social media.
Harrison's online presence as Astronaut Abby was spurred from an 8th grade National History Day project titled 'Debate and Diplomacy: The History of the ISS". Harrison setup a Twitter account under the name of AstronautAbby to connect with NASA employees to get a quote for her project. Harrison got the quote and also found support of the space community as a leader in her generation. Harrison continued to use social media to both network with space industry professionals, help engage her peers on STEM subjects and excite and educate people about the importance of human space exploration and STEM education to the future of humankind.
On May 28, 2013, Harrison attended the Soyuz TMA-09M launch of her mentor, Astronaut Luca Parmitano to the International Space Station. She shared the experience with her social media audience, marking the beginning of her work as Parmitano's Earth Liaison. As his Earth Liaison, she shared his 6-month experience of living in space with her social media community and through her worldwide outreach program.
|Abigail Harrison Official Social Network Page/Account|
|Official Instagram Page||astronautabbyofficial|
|Official facebook Page||AstronautAbby|
|Official Twitter Page||astronautabby|