Today is Anousheh Ansari‘s birthday. Since she is a woman that I admire greatly, I thought to share some information about this great role model.

globe-1029210_1920Anousheh dreamed about space exploration since childhood. She was born to a Muslim family in Iran, lived in Tehran and immigrated to the United States as a teenager after witnessing the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She didn’t speak any English at the time. She now speaks 4 languages: Persian, English, French and Russian.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electronics and computer engineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She is working towards a master’s degree in astronomy.

She served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of Telecom Technologies, Inc. The company earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing company. She also co-founded Prodea Systems in 2006 and is still the current chairman and CEO.

Anousheh was the first Iranian in space and the first female private space explorer on September 18, 2006. She was the 4th overall self-funded space traveller who has gone to the International Space Station and worked for NASA.

lego-1862124_1920She is also very passionate about social entrepreneurship and fostering positive change. Anousheh is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ansari X Prize Foundation, which challenges teams from around the world to build a commercial space craft. She also joined forces with Mind over Matter – Global Education Initiative to bring about positive change in our educational system.

Anousheh wants to bring public awareness and enthusiasm about the virtues of space exploration. In a time that fails to value education and facts, this is needed more than ever.

She also wants to inspire youth, especially girls, around the world to pursue their dreams. Representation matters.

Book to read:

Are you an aspiring astronaut? Have you ever wondered what it would take to join the ranks? Here are a few resources: