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Alumna Resnik Remembered on 25th Anniversary of Challenger Tragedy

Alumna Resnik Remembered on 25th Anniversary of Challenger Tragedy

Dr. Judith Resnik (Ph.D., EE, '77)
Dr. Judith Resnik (Ph.D., EE, '77)

The University of Maryland's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is remembering one of its pioneering graduates today — Dr. Judith Resnik ('77), a Space Shuttle astronaut, and the second American woman in space.

Friday, January 28, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of Dr. Resnik and six other astronauts on board.

Judith A. Resnik, a 1977 Electrical Engineering Ph.D. graduate at the University of Maryland, will forever be remembered as a trailblazer and a hero. The Judith Resnik Memorial Fellowship Fund, established in 1986, honors her memory and supports fellowship awards to outstanding graduate students at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Judith A. Resnik was born April 5, 1949, in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from Akron's Firestone High School in 1966, she went on to receive a BS in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon in 1970 and a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1977.

Dr. Resnik began her professional career as a design engineer at RCA where her projects included engineering support for NASA sounding rocket and telemetry systems programs. From 1974 to 1977, she was also a biomedical engineer and staff fellow in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In January 1978, NASA selected Dr. Resnik as an astronaut candidate.

While at NASA, she worked on a number of projects in support of the burgeoning space shuttle program including experiment software and the Remote Manipulator System (RMS). On August 30, 1984, she served as a mission specialist on the maiden flight of the space shuttle Discovery, where she logged 144 hours and 57 minutes in space.

On January 28, 1986, Dr. Resnik was serving as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger when the spacecraft exploded shortly after launch. Everyone onboard the shuttle, including Dr. Resnik, perished in the ordeal.

Judith Resnik's friends created the Judith Resnik Memorial Fellowship Fund in the month following the Challenger disaster as a way to honor her memory.

Media Coverage: Akron Ohio News, Judith Resnik Leaves lasting Legacy

January 28, 2011


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