Former NASA Astronaut Receives Distinction

<p>Dr. Bonnie Dunbar</p>

Dr. Bonnie Dunbar

A former NASA astronaut and area resident receives the alumnus distinction award today at the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon.

Role model to many and Sunnyside native, Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon held today at the Three Rivers Convention Center.

Dunbar spent 27 years at NASA, logging 50 days in space and completing five space flights -- she held several management positions during her tenure there as well.

In her address today, she stressed the importance of education, especially math and science for children, and how important it should be for young people.

She says parents and teachers need to encourage, but it's really about the student's initiative.

"We're providing students a free education in this county and this state. I'm a tax payer; I help provide that. And students who don't take advantage of that have not looked at young people around the world who would give a limb to have what we have. To study, to have books, to be able to read," said Dunbar.

Currently Dr. Dunbar leads a new STEM center at the University of Houston, and is also a professor at the College of Engineering.