Former astronaut Godwin tells women's club about her hometown support

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dreams of traveling in space were how it began for Dr. Linda Godwin.

Those dreams, coupled with support from family and educators, launched her into space -- four times -- and eventually to the Johnson Space Center in Texas where she currently works.

Godwin was honored with the "Celebration Award" by the Zonta Club Friday.

Godwin now focuses on future space exploration, including possible trips to the moon and Mars. She said she reached her dreams because she worked hard and had so much help from her family, teachers at Jackson High School and instructors at Southeast Missouri State University.

In 1969, five years before Godwin would graduate high school, Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

She remembers being in Ed Sebaugh's high school physics class and there were an equal number of boys. Once she left town, she soon found that she had chosen an odd path for a woman. She found herself surrounded mostly by men in laboratories. At one place she worked, the facility did not even have a women's bathroom.

But she never felt slighted for being a woman while living near Jackson because she had so much support.

"Educators make a big difference," she said. "Support is everything. Doors were opened to me by getting a good education."

Because of her early encouragement and education, she said she never faced barriers she couldn't overcome. And those are the reasons Godwin feels it's important to promote the work of Zonta Clubs, which are dedicated to improving the legal, political, economic, educational and professional status of women. Godwin said she felt overwhelmed to receive the award, calling it a tremendous honor coming from a club so active in this worldwide service.

The Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau, a chartered club of Zonta International, was chartered in 1976. The Foundation, incorporated in 2003, raised over $230,000 for contributions to community and international projects. Zonta members have donated over 36,600 service hours for area projects.

335-6611, extension 133

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