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tv   Eileen Drake Delivers University of Alabama Commencement Address  CSPAN  May 20, 2017 10:54am-11:13am EDT

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background as an aviator, and the importance of being open to new experiences and challenges. this is 20 minutes. [applause] eileen drake: good afternoon, and thank you president for that great introduction and is actually a thank you for letting me be here today to serve as your commencement speaker. i don't have to tell anybody out there in the audience today that you a h is a powerhouse. campus or talkhe to an alumni i have always been impressed by the caliber of students and alumni. distinguished trustees, honored staff, familyy, and friends, it is a pleasure to be here with you today and a true honor to be a part of the celebration. for the graduating class of 2017, a big congratulations. i know when you first stepped foot on this campus during your
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freshman year you cannot believe how fast this day would come. believe me, life only get faster from here on out after today's celebration. the 2017 graduating class of the university of alabama in huntsville is made up of some 853 outstanding men and women who have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. these students have account -- achieves countless honors and recognition in research, academics, the arts, and athletics. some of the most recent accolades received by members of you a h -- uah include students who have received recognitions like the following -- being oceanice first national and atmospheric scholar. theing first place of
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national organization for the professional advancement of black chemists and chemical engineers two-minute drill research pitch. receiving a best student paper award from the american institute of aeronautics and .stronautics winning outstanding student presentation awards from the american meteorological society, scientist and graduate student contributed to be successful in section -- detection of the existence of gravitational waves, a 100-year-old theory by albert einstein. i personally want to invite the person to work with me. finally, a member of uah facility, dr. gary cinque, who is out there somewhere today who served as chair of the space science department and director of the center of space and aeronautics research was elected
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to the national academy of sciences, largely based on his work while here at the university of alabama in huntsville. becoming a member of this academy is one of the highest honors in american scientist -- an american scientist can receive. community ishe uah being recognized for academic excellence and a number of ways. it is always great to be here and to be addressing you inside the center on this joyous occasion and true honor. there is not another community like huntsville in the united states with so much passion for rockets and space exploration. visit my site, i cannot help but be inspired by the communities role in protecting our nation and sending our explorers both human and robotic into space. personally i am thrilled with the work that our nation is doing to help realize the vision
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laid out by verna braun braun in his book "the mars project." the technical specifications required to carry crew missions to mars. today as a nation we are building the space superhighway to mars. it includes a huge rocket, habitats, interplanetary spacecraft, and more. think about this for a moment, we are going to send humans to mars. footprints inn mars should be in the 20 30's. i'm speaking to members in this class today that will be a part of america's reach to the red planet, deciding new spaceships, made of new materials, and made in new ways. new forms of communication including virtual presence of people back here on our. he was a visionary who truly change the world.
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he is known to most people as the father of rocket scientist. 1950 toto huntsville in head the army's ballistic missile program. he later joined the newly created national aeronautics and 1958,administration in becoming the first director of nasa's flight center in 1960 and was the chief architects of the mighty saturn five launch vehicle that sent the astronauts to the moon. that, he was instrumental in the foundation of this very fine educational institution --. i know he would be immensely proud today to see the graduates today earning degrees from an institution he helped to create. you are all part of that legacy today. uah has given you an unbelievable education. you are ready to go and do great things and to be leaders in this new american century.
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i am also a bit a part of this legacy as i have the fortune to run arrow jet rocketdyne, the premier, coolest rocket propulsion provider to the nation. . our company has built the rocket engines that have propelled hundreds of satellites into orbit. we powered the mighty saturn v explore spacecraft to every planet in the solar system and 135 flights of nasa space shuttles. this is my shameless plug to encourage all of you to want to work at aerojet rocketdyne. aerojet rocketdyne is significantly growing our huntsville state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. i'm proud that many of our graduates, oruah
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have sons or daughters that attended this university. we love rockets and space exploration. , aerojet rocketdyne is reaching for the stars. rocket science is at the core of what we do and is what differentiates us from any other company. i would like to say at aerojet theetdyne we enable universe and defend and protect our nation. i find this to be monumental, and packed full work that makes me want to come to work. ua has provided theh tools to reach for the stars. all the today and see friends and family with us, i know you want to reach for the stars, too. your family and friends are know,of you, and they
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like me, that our future is in good hands. i thank you to the grandparents, the parents, the brothers, sisters, on's, cousins, friends areunts,, cousins, friends being here today. these graduates would not be here without your encouragement and personal sacrifices. i assure you are excited and proud of what you accomplished. i know my family has always been there for me, and i could not have accomplished half of what i have done in my career without them. it seems like yesterday i was in these seats surrounded by yy friends and famil graduating college. i wanted to be a lawyer. i was in the army rotc program, and that changed my life in ways
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i could not have foreseen. rotc i fell in love with aeronautics and decided to pursue a career path instead of becoming a lawyer. i am so glad i did. i mean no disrespect to any lawyers in the room or graduates that might be going on to law school. i was enamored with flight and leveraged my rotc experience to become a helicopter pilot. i attended flight school in alabama at fort rucker, located in the southeast part of the state in dell county. many fond memories of fort rucker. it is what i experienced true southern hospitality. i fell in love with the state and people. alabama has always held a
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special place in my heart . i've served almost8 years on active duty as an army aviator, often having the opportunity to come back to alabama for advanced aircraft training. i would like to share a couple things i learned along the way that i hope you can apply to your life as you head out the real world. first, and i think most important, be open to new experiences. i had no idea of becoming an army pilot would change my life and impact me. as someone who has moved 21 times, i constantly had new experiences. a lot of the new experiences moved me out of my comfort zone. if you're willing to be open to new things come you will have cool stories to tell when you are a commencement speaker. life will throw you curves.
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we prepared to meet them head on and accept the challenges. many times, these challenges will carry you in a direction you weren't expecting. i was a helicopter pilot in the army. after graduating from flight school, i was in a serious helicopter crash where the aircraft was totaled. rotorrcraft lost the tail and spiraled out of control before crashing in the ground. i obviously survived, because i'm here today. that accident was a pivotal .oment in my life when someone experiences a catastrophic event they have two choices: give up, or continue on . my love in flying and confidence in the skills i obtained in my army training outweighed fear that i had of crawling back into the cockpit. my greatest passions -- our
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greatest passions in life often face challenges that seem insurmountable. you can conquer these challenges and they will shape your character. born cower from challenges out of your passion. i encourage you to trust yourself and your instincts. have the inner strength to do the right thing. this is something i have learned countless times. when you have trust in yourself and hold yourself to high expectations, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. this institution has given you the tools to succeed. it is up to you to reach for the stars i setting high goals of what you want to achieve and trusting yourself to accomplish them with high integrity. trust yourself when someone tells you you can't do something or when you don't belong. i cannot tell you how many times
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i've heard that. trust yourself to venture into uncharted territory. trust yourself you are equipped to positively impact the world around you. trust yourself to dream big for your future. i can't think of a better example than the heroes of nasa th portrayed in "hidden figures." they trusted themselves, acted with high integrity, and were central to nasa's success. the will does a better place because they reached for the stars. earning a college degree demonstrates your ability to accomplish great things. your learned to work hard, be persistent, and press earlier. trust yourself, and you will achieve your dreams.
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i was fortunate to have great mentors. many of them were bosses. saying courage to me and told me realize i have skills i didn't know existed within me. my mentors taught me to take on challenges no one else wants to tackle, because often those teach you the most. my mentors new when to push me into new roles like running a factory with 100 people or the coolest rocket company with 5000 rocket scientists. they knew how much i could handle and when i needed extra guidance. asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. surround yourself with people who will work with you to accomplish your task, not for you. no one can achieve greatness alone. if you haven't already you will
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learn the importance of offessional networks outside college. mentors can help you forge professional relationships you need to excel in your career. i will not tell you said fax won't happen if you follow my because they will. there are always circumstances out of your control. the challenge is to learn from those experiences. you have spent several years working hard and preparing for .oday it is up to you to carry forward the proud legacy of a generation of rocket scientists who helped forge this great university. i know all of you are up to the task and will continue to explore, discover, venture beyond your comfort zone, and propel your self to excellence as you reach for the stars.
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this star as you reach for are the ones you need to define. it is up to you to turn your dreams into reality. define your stars and go get them. --t like aerojet rocketdyne, just like wernher von braun did. reaching for the stars right here at uah. i mentioned the doctor earlier and how he was elected to the prestigious national academy of science. ang is a true rock star. he is on the top of his game in his field. his research is something that want torojet rocketdyne support. g'srecognition of dr. zhan achievement and inspiring
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students to reach for the stars and the growing partnership with uah, i am pleased to announce that aerojet rocketdyne is endowing a chair in space scientists at uah to recognize the work of dr. zhang. [applause] i am thee: i realize only thing standing between you and receiving your diploma. that is why you came today, so i will close with this. wherever your future endeavors take you, be confident you are ready. surround yourself with good positive people. embrace the challenges life will throw your way. above all, trust yourself. your future is bright, and you will work to create an even
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brighter future for the next generation. congratulations to the class of 2017. , and don'tgodspeed ever stop reaching for the stars. thank you. [applause] this weekend, our cities tour goes to trenton, new jersey. book tv and american history tv feature the history and literary culture of new jersey's capital city. today on book tv, we visit the y's rare book collection. >> they were able to print paper money for the colony. wanted toature receive the money.

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