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Ricky Arnold graduated from FSU in 1985 with an accounting degree and returned in 1988 to earn his teacher certification.
While not an actual graduate of any of the CLAS programs, Ricky became interested in the sciences during his time at FSU while taking biology classes. This led him to earn a master’s degree in Marine and Estuarine Science through the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He subsequently worked as a marine scientist on an oceanographic vessel and taught science and math in Waldorf, Md., Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania.
Arnold learned that NASA was seeking teachers with a science and math background to become part of its astronaut corps, and he was selected in 2004. After completing NASA’s two-year astronaut candidate training program, he became a mission specialist, a dream that began when he was a boy following the Apollo missions.
Arnold was part of STS-119 in March 2009, when the Space Shuttle Discovery delivered and the crew installed critical final pieces of the International Space Station. On that mission, Arnold performed two of the three spacewalks.
In 2007, Arnold was also part of NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission), a training and research mission aboard the underwater habitat Aquarius. The “aquanaut” mission simulated the level of gravity on the moon, but it was also a “dream come true” for the former marine scientist.