Dr. John Bennet Herrington (Chickasaw) is a retired Naval Aviator, test pilot, and astronaut who has traveled the world and interacted with people from many cultures. His experiences have instilled a deep appreciation and respect for the diverse nature of the human race and a desire to engage and understand the perspective of others. It is tremendously important he share his Native American perspective with a broad audience that has not had the opportunity to understand or appreciate the talents Native American students bring to the world. He believes the most effective way is to bring more Native American graduates into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions.
Herrington is considered the first tribally-enrolled Native American astronaut who was a crew member aboard the STS-113 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It was in November 2002, nine years before the final flight of the NASA Space Shuttle program.
The mission lasted 14 days where the Endeavour crew and the Expedition Six crew combined to install the new P1 truss to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew performed three spacewalks to outfit and activate the truss, and transfer supplies and equipment between the two spacecraft. Endeavour brought more than 2,500 pounds of material to the ISS.
Dr. Herrington holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the US Naval Postgraduate School, and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Education from the University of Idaho.
Herrington’s career is impressive and demonstrates what is possible for Native American students if they are provided resources and support in STEM education. He is committed to helping Native American students achieve success in a field they are passionate about. In 2008, he rode a bicycle 4,300 miles across the United States, promoting education to Native American students.
Dr. Herrington is the recipient of numerous awards and has been inducted into the first National Native American Hall of Fame, the International Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame.
John is the father of two daughters and lives in Montana. He enjoys flying with his dog Emme, skiing, cycling, rock climbing, and being a doting grandfather.
Dr. Herrington will be visiting with the KTC Poteau campus EAST students via ZOOM in both the morning and afternoon classes.
“I had the good fortune of meeting John while working on a summer STEM camp organized by Sharona Farmer of Choctaw Nation Career Development. She became the connection for so many of us in this area to learn from Dr. Herrington. We are thankful for the opportunity to learn more about global citizenship and servitude from a generous leader eager to connect with students in our area.” – Kelly Falkner, EAST Facilitator