SnoKing Retirees group heard from Shoreline astronaut at their May luncheon

Friday, June 16, 2023

Barb Bumgardner is giving a “Certificate of Appreciation” to Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, after her presentation. Dottie delivered a stimulating review of her journey to become an astronaut at the SnoKing School Retirees Luncheon on May 18, 2023.

By Barb Bumgardner, Chair or the SKSR May luncheon

The SnoKing School Retirees (SKSR) group is composed of retired teachers and other school professionals from multiple north King and south Snohomish school districts.

It was great to see lots of those folks at our SnoKing School Retirees May luncheon on May 18, 2023 which was held at the Shoreline Center, a new location for SKSR.

We were honored to be joined by two of our local school superintendents, Dr Susana Reyes from Shoreline, and Dr. Rebecca Miner from Edmonds, who also taught with our speaker in Vancouver, Washington, several years ago.

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger is in the Discovery Space Shuttle as she is on her way to the IIS (International Space Station), April, 2010. Dottie had always dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

But the most “out of this world” experience was the presentation by Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, a former NASA astronaut!

I met Dottie when she lived across the street from me for several years. My neighborhood was quite excited when we learned that with the family who just moved in, the mom was a former astronaut! 

Jason, Dottie’s husband, teaches in the Northshore School District, and their daughter, Bria, is a sophomore at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline. Dottie and her family all love enjoying outdoor adventures.

As educators, we often check in with our students to inquire about their plans for the future. At the age of 9, Dottie made a paper mache model of an astronaut when her teacher asked what she wanted to become. 

In her presentation, Dottie reminded us that dreams don’t just “happen.” She went on to share with us the many steps she took along the way to her launching into space as an astronaut. 

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger is in charge of monitoring checklists while two of her crew are outside of the Space Shuttle. She went through several years of training in order to safely fulfill her responsibilities.

Her parents sent her to Space Camp when she was 15, and when she returned, she built a model of the Space Shuttle Discovery, as it was launching with the Hubble Telescope that very year. After college at Whitman in Walla Walla, Dottie was quite interested in science and math. She got her teaching degree, and went on to teach earth science at a junior high in Vancouver, WA.

One of her students asked her one day to explain how astronauts use the bathroom in space. She admitted that she had no idea, and went onto the NASA website to find the answer. While on the NASA website she noticed that NASA was hiring teachers to become astronauts. After being accepted, she then went through over two years of training.

On April 5, 2010, exactly 20 years after she built the model of Discovery, Dottie was launched into space along with her crew of seven, on the Space Shuttle Discovery, on their way to the ISS (International Space Station).

Dottie included many striking photos in her presentation, which were projected on a huge screen for us to enjoy them. 

If you are interested in learning more about our speaker, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, you can find many interesting sites online. One in particular that I enjoyed was on the Seattle TEDx website that includes a 15-minute Ted talk entitled "Dream Boldly"


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