NASA astronaut and Frostburg State University alumnus Ricky Arnold will return to the Frostburg campus to speak to students and the community about his journey from Frostburg to becoming a mission specialist for NASA, which has taken him to the ocean floor and into Earth’s orbit. He will be speaking to community members on Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in FSU’s Performing Arts Center Pealer Recital Hall.
The evening presentation, which will include a question-and-answer session, is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early to guarantee seating.
Arnold, who graduated from FSU in 1985 with an accounting degree and returned in 1988 to earn his teacher certification, took a circuitous route to become an astronaut. In between, he earned a master’s degree in Marine and Estuarine Science through the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, following an interest begun in biology classes at FSU. He also worked as a marine scientist on an oceanographic vessel and taught science and math in Waldorf, Md., Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania.
He 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.
Arnold grew up in Bowie, Md. He is married and the father of two daughters. For more information on Arnold, visit www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/arnold-rr.html.
For information about Arnold’s public presentation, call the FSU Office of Alumni Programs at 301-687-4068.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.