If we were to make St. Petersburg College a person, a composite of its students, what would it look like? Here’s who the average SPC student isn’t. Singer and songwriter for The Doors, Jim Morrison and blogging astronaut Nicole Stott.
James Douglas Morrison attended St. Petersburg College for just one year from 1961 to 1962. A ‘B’ and ‘C’ student, nobody could have predicted his meteoric rise in the world of rock music. Jim’s path took him to FSU, and then to UCLA. After completing his Theater Arts degree there he went on to form The Doors, one of the early voices of psychedelic rock. The Doors would return to Florida, and Jim would be arrested for indecent exposure at a concert in Miami in 1969. Thirty-nine years after his death Governor Charlie Christ pardoned Jim Morrison as one of his last acts as governor.
While Christ was working to pardon Morrison, SPC graduate Nicole Stott was waiting for her chance to fly 200 miles above the Earth’s surface. She was the flight engineer mission specialist for the troubled final flight of the shuttle Discovery STS-133. A flight engineer is one of two mission specialists, responsible for assisting the pilot and commander of the mission. They handle information from the ground at Cape Canaveral and Houston. Stott was already a space veteran, having made a trip to the International Space Station in 2009 aboard STS-128 and STS-129. As part of STS-129 she and crew-mate Jeff Williams took part in the first live Twitter event from the ISS. A Tweetup, part of President Obama’s social media outreach program, allowed her to talk to NASA’s twitter followers directly for twenty minutes. This marriage of two of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century, space flight and the Internet, is also a meeting between science and art. She left Earth on STS-133 in February 2011. Stott continues to document her work with NASA on Twitter @Astro_Nicole and her blog at fragileoasis.org. Stott and Morrison have something to tell you.
There is a myth that says college is this thing you endure for two to four years, and then you go kill time in a cubicle until you can retire. Nicole Stott and Jim Morrison show that it is possible to use college to get what you want out of life. Working towards that goal does not end when you receive your college degree, it is only the beginning.
Photos provided by Flickr user Nasa HQ Photo under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 License.