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The International Space Station completes an orbit every 93 minutes, approximately.

Back on earth, participants in the Women and Engineering (WIE) Run the World Virtual Movement Challenge will be logging that same number of activity minutes during the month of March, whether in the form of walking, biking, swimming, running, hiking or any other activity that “makes you feel empowered, encouraged, and strong,” according to event organizers.

The Run the World Virtual Movement Challenge has been scheduled to coincide with Women’s History Month, when WIE and the A. James Clark School of Engineering will be celebrating the contributions of women engineers such as Grace Hopper, Lillian Gilbreth, and Ada Lovelace.

It also recognizes a more recent trailblazer, UMD alumna Jeanette Epps. As the first African-American woman to be selected for the International Space Station crew, Epps is poised to make history—and inspire others to follow in her path.

Epps, originally from Syracuse, New York, earned her bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 from LeMoyne College and then went on to complete a master’s degree (1994) and doctorate (2000) at UMD, both in aerospace engineering. She is the first UMD Ph.D. graduate in aerospace engineering to become a NASA astronaut, and the second from the Clark School, after Judith Resnick, an electrical engineer.

An active alumna, Epps has regularly returned to the UMD campus to meet with students and give presentations about her work. "There is no recipe to becoming an astronaut,” Epps told students during one campus visit. Those selected for her class, she said, have backgrounds that include “military, engineering, biology and medical.”

Registration for the event is free. Participants can opt to receive a glow-in-the dark performance tee ($25) with the design reflecting themes of space, engineering and technology, and fitness. Register for the event here.

All participants will be eligible to attend three free virtual fitness classes, offered by UMD mechanical engineering alumna Emily Reichard, who teaches spin and group fitness classes in Alexandria, VA. A certified Mad Dogg spinning and. Power Sculpt instructor, Reichard works to empower her students and help them push past their boundaries.  

Reichard is also cofounder of Kinetic Metrics, bringing her experience as a federal vehicle safety investigator to assist developing companies in understanding federal safety standards.

“We’re really excited to be hosting this unique program,” said Rebecca Kenemuth, WIE’s assistant director of outreach and recruitment. “It started as a small idea for fostering community and connection among students within a virtual learning environment, and quickly grew into one that will also amplify the important role of women in the profession and inspire, engage, and empower the next generation of women engineers.”

“We have designed the event to be welcoming and accessible to all,” Kenemuth said. “With its free registration, the WIE Run The World 93 Minute Movement Challenge is open to everyone, including members of the UMD community, students in grades K-12, organizations and community groups, and professionals in the field. We invite everyone to join in this fun, empowering, and unique event that promotes and signifies the importance of diversity and inclusion in engineering.”

Plan to participate? Share pictures with the hashtag #WIERunTheWorld! For more information about the event, or to register, visit eng.umd.edu/run-world.

Register Now



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February 15, 2021


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