Reading success stories of great professionals stimulates motivational enzyme within us and we all wish to emulate them on our path of success.
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Read story of Sunita Williams
Sunita Williams, former American astronaut and a navy officer, holds records for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at 195 days, total number of spacewalks by a woman, which stands at seven, and most spacewalk time for woman at 50 hours and 40 minutes.
Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, the United States, to an Indian American father, Deepak Pandya, and Slovene American mother, Ursuline Bonnie Pandya. Sunita is the youngest of the three siblings – she has an older brother and sister.
At a young age, Sunita Williams was fascinated by physical sciences and was keen to pursue a career in this field.
Sunita was a hardworking right from her childhood, and keeping her interests and passion in mind, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy in 1987 and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.
After her graduation from the United States Naval Academy, Sunita was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy.
During her tenure at the United States Navy, Sunita rose quickly in her rank – after a temporary assignment at the Naval Coastal System Command, she was given the title ‘Basic Diving Officer’, after which she was promoted to the position of a Naval Aviator and Officer-in-Charge of a H-46 detachment sent to Miami for relief operations.
In 1993, Sunita trained at the United States Naval Test Pilot School and became a squadron Safety Officer and later, an instructor at the Rotary Wing Department of the Naval Test Pilot School.
Throughout her military career, Sunita flew more than 30 types of aircrafts and logged more than 3,000 flight hours. Impressed by her capabilities and dedication, the authorities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected Sunita for their astronaut programme. Training to become an astronaut is no laughing matter – it requires patience, stamina, determination and dedication, all of the qualities which Sunita possessed.
She worked hard to understand the International Space Station systems and learnt water and wilderness survival techniques. It was during her expeditions to the space that Sunita carried out some marvellous feats.
In 2007, she ran the first marathon by a person in space and completed the 2007 Boston Marathon in four hours and 24 minutes.
We can learn a number of lessons from Sunita’s life. Sunita led no ordinary life – her career as a navy officer and astronaut was challenging but she did not give up when the journey became tough.
Today’s youngsters fear challenges and are afraid to try new things and test their capabilities. Unless we challenge ourselves, how can we be aware of our capabilities? Success comes to those who try new things and are not afraid of challenges and failures.
For her great achievements, Sunita’s name has been added to the list of most experienced spacewalkers. Sunita has been awarded the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by the World Gujarati Society and she is the first person of Indian descent but not an Indian citizen to be given the award.
She has also been awarded Padma Bhushan, the Navy Commendation Medal and Golden Order for Merits for her contribution to the promotion of technical and natural sciences.
In 2011, Sunita was given the Medal “For Merit in Space Exploration” for her outstanding contribution to the development of international cooperation in manned space flight.
Sunita Williams is an inspiration to not just women but to everyone. She has taught the world the importance of hard work, dedication and perseverance.
When faced with challenges in life, we should abide by the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Life is full of challenges but with passion and determination, we can overcome all challenges and obstacles.
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