Abigail Harrison is a girl with a dream. She aspires to be a scientist and dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut. But it doesn’t stop there–she also dreams of becoming the first astronaut to Mars. With a dreams this big, it takes setting goals and working hard each day to make them a reality. In 2011, at the age of 13, Abby began to speak publicly about her dreams. Her work over the years as an international STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) and space ambassador has led to a following of over 700,000 people on social media. In 2015, at the age of 18 years old, Abby founded The Mars Generation, a 501c3 nonprofit with the support of an advisory board of astronauts, engineers, scientists and her hundreds of thousands of online supporters. The nonprofit has reached over 10 million people in it’s first year of operation and works to educate and excite kids and adults about space exploration and STEM education. The Mars Generation has 3 programs: Future of Space Outreach Program, Student Space Ambassador Leadership Program and Space Camp Scholarship Program. Abby is currently attending Wellesley College , where retired NASA Astronaut Pamela Melroy also attended. She is studying astrobiology and Russian. She has an anticipated graduation date for spring of 2019 and is positioned to enter directly into a PhD program. Read about Abby’s journey by scrolling down to How AstronautAbby.com Got Started. Or watch her Tedx talk above. Early STEM Education Abby is committed to inspiring her generation, The Mars Generation, to dream big, act big and inspire others. Since the age of five, Abby has been dreaming of space and flying. A hands-on experience in the fifth grade cemented her commitment to her dream: Abby was chosen to participate in the Minneapolis Public School GEMS program (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science) at her school. Four years later, she had built robots, conducted science experiments and participated in NASA’s weather balloon program through the University of Minnesota. How AstronautAbby.com Got Started By 8th grade, Abby was a member of her school’s top-ranked Science Bowl team and had created an award-winning State History Day Project titled Debate and Diplomacy: The History of the ISS. The project spanned both history and science and included Abby’s interviews with astronauts as well as industry space experts like Susan Freedman, an NASA engineer for the International Space Station. It was during this project in 2011, that Abby created an online presence and became Astronaut Abby. She found the power of social media allowed her to connect with people around the world who were both space professionals as well as enthusiasts. In December 2011, Abby was invited as a guest blogger for NASA’s ISS blog, in which she wrote a post titled “Meet a Teen with Space Dreams.” In March 2012, Abby was featured in an article on NASA’s education website titled “Astronaut Abby Hearts NASA.” In May 2013 as a special guest of Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano Abby travelled to Russia to be a part of a legendary Soyuz launch–Soyuz-TMA-09M. After the launch, Abby was charged with a BIG responsibility: she served as Parmitano’s Earth Liaison, bringing space down to Earth by sharing Parmitano’s space mission with her followers and other young people interested in space. Abby has also created a worldwide outreach program called the #FutureOfSpace that was geared toward igniting passion and excitement about space, STEM and dreams with kids around the world. In October of 2013, Abby was invited to present a TEDx talk in Tampa Bay. Her talk titled “What’s Your Mars?” has been shared around the globe, inspiring thousands of kids and adults to find their Mars and follow their own passion and purpose. Watch the video now to be inspired and please share with your friends! Abby’s goal with her blog at AstronautAbby.com, Twitter account, Facebook Page, Instagram account, YouTube and Google+ Page is to share her experience of reaching for these amazing dreams and to inspire other kids and young adults to set their own goals and reach for the stars. Abby continues to work to encourage adults to continue to invest in STEM education and to re-commit to the research of NASA and human space exploration. As the founder and leader of The Mars Generation, Abby now has hundreds of thousands of people joining her on this mission to excite kids about STEM/STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) and also to educate people everywhere of the importance of STEAM and space exploration to the future of humankind. Best Advise Abby Has Received The one piece of advice Abby always refers back to in her following her own dreams and also encouraging others was given to her by her mentor, Astronaut Luca Parmitano: “Follow your heart in your studies and do what you love. NASA is looking for people who are passionate about what they do.” This counsel has helped Abby to set goals and navigate a path to space that not only prepares her for applying to become a NASA astronaut, but also keeps her excited about the process. She continues to correspond with Astronaut Luca Parmitano. He has graciously offered to be Abby’s mentor as she works for a goal that may seem impossible to some. He stated in an interview Abby conducted several years ago “Someday I will be training you to be an astronaut.” It’s a dream that Abby hopes to see become reality. Sign Up for Astronaut Abby Email Updates Some other fun Stuff Abby has participated in: Presenting the Shorty Award for Science to Bill Nye with Astronaut Mike Massimino Reporting on the First Test Launch of the Orion Spacecraft – The New Spacecraft that will someday go to Mars TEDX Tampa Bay – “What’s Your Mars” – See Abby’s Talk Here! #SoyuzAdventure – Trip to See Astronaut Luca Paramitano’s Launch to the ISS in Russia Apollo 17 4oth Anniversary Dinner at Stafford Air and Space Museum Canadian Space Agency Tweetup #CSAtweetup #STS135 NASA Tweetup #NASAtweetup #NASAsocial #STS 134 Space Camp 2010, Space Academy 2011, Advanced Space Academy and Mach 3 Aviation Challenge 2012 Read up on All the Press about Abby and Her Adventures Here!