Roberta Bondar is Canada’s first female astronaut and became the first neurologist in space. She was born on December 4, 1945 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and graduated from Sir James Dunn High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and agriculture from the University of Guelph in 1968, a Master of Science degree in experimental pathology from the University of Western Ontario in 1971, a Doctor of Philosophy in neuroscience from the University of Toronto in 1974, and a Doctor of Medicine degree from McMaster University in 1977. Bondar is also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Bondar has completed the National Disaster Life Support Instructor course and studied professional nature photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography.
In 1984, Bondar began training as a NASA astronaut, and in 1992 she was designated a Payload Specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission. Bondar was first assigned to STS-42 aboard Shuttle Discovery. The crew launched on January 22, 1992 and successfully performed experiments in the Spacelab. After she returned to Earth, Bondar began to lead an international team of researchers at NASA. For over ten years, she examined data obtained from astronauts on many space missions to better understand the mechanisms underlying the body’s ability to recover from trips to space.
After her work with NASA, Bondar appeared on multiple television and radio networks such as CNN, BBC, PBS and CBC throughout United States and Canada. She has also co-anchored on the Discovery Channel. Bondar has been honored in many ways, including having a park, government building, and marina all named after her.
Most recently, Bondar retired as the Chancellor of Trent University on June 30, 2009, after serving six years.