Northern Virginia resident Lisa Alcindor hopes to change society’s image of what an astronaut looks like by training to be a space traveler in her own right.
Describing herself as an “astronaut candidate,” Alcindor is also a PhD candidate, a pilot, a scuba diver, a public speaker, and a FAMU grad. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, the 34-year-old explained that while she hasn’t traveled to space just yet, she’s in the process of training to become a spacewoman so she can prove that sky’s the limit (literally) for anyone with the right mindset.
“My goal is to show people that they truly are limitless,” Alcindor told The Washington Post.
Her Instagram account thought-provokingly asks viewers, “What do astronauts look like?” The 34-year-old is now in the second round of applications for Space for Humanity’s Citizen Astronaut Program, which aims to help “astronauts gain an understanding of the miraculousness of life, and the uniqueness of our existence,” according to an email written by the nonprofit’s Executive Director, Rachel Lyons.
As of now, Space for Humanity has already received around 4,000 applications for the program.
White male billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk have all had the opportunity to travel to space recently thanks to their financial ability and various connections unattainable to the everyday person. That said, Alcindor’s path to space has been more relatable and, well, down to earth.
“Being a pilot, it takes a different level of meditation,” Alcindor said concerning the 26 hours of flight time she’s been able to accrue thus far. “My first flight lesson, I almost fainted. I’m Black and I almost turned pink. You feel everything. The plane is so light that you feel the fuel when it’s dissipating.”
“I was like, ‘I got to finish this, because that’s what astronauts do,'” the 34-year-old went onto say.
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The aspiring astronaut’s resume is extensive. A view of her LinkedIn notes that she’s previously worked at the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, and NASA. She also has a wide variety of personal interests, including dance, fashion, and singing. The 34-year-old even made it to Hollywood Week of American Idol at one point.
Alcindor shared that the film Hidden Figures inspired her to pursue her spacewoman dreams seriously — and that the film also validated that it was okay to be a Black woman constantly working to build her various talents.
“The more I sat in my woman-ness, the more I was a better leader,” the aspiring astronaut of Haitian-American descent said candidly.
To assist Alcindor in getting her private pilot’s license (PPL), visit her GoFundMe here.