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Former Astronaut Inspires Local Women With Story Of Her Triumphs In Many Male-Dominated Fields

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A former NASA astronaut is sharing her wisdom and triumphs through her varied experiences and careers. Dr. Rhea Seddon has seen glorious views of the Earth from the space shuttle, but it's come with a lot of hard work.

On Thursday, she inspired a crowd of hundreds on the Main Line to follow their dreams.

Few have ever had the opportunity to see the world like Dr. Seddon. That's because only an elite number of people have ever seen it from space.

"As professional women, you really have a superpower," Dr. Seddon said.

Dr. Seddon shared her amazing experience with those gathered at The Society of Professional Women luncheon on the Main Line.

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She's been a trailblazer throughout her career, sharing many firsts for females.

"Nineteen years as really coming in as one of the first female astronauts and that was very interesting," Dr. Seddon said. "It was obviously a world of men, a world of pilots."

Dr. Seddon's illustrious career doesn't just include her three shuttle flights with NASA, she has navigated a circuitous route in many male-dominated fields.

"I had a number of careers," she said. "I was a surgeon, an astronaut, a health care executive, a business owner and, now, help run a large charity women's group."

She believes women have made strides over the years.

"Absolutely, I think things are easier for women now, in some fields," Dr. Seddon said. "In some fields that are new it's a little harder, but there are just more women in the workplace."

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As a proud mother of three who's also married to an astronaut, she hopes her story inspires others to dream big and live fearlessly.

"You need to pick a field of study that you really enjoy, that you find a passion for and you'll do well at that," she said.

"If I could tell my younger self something, I think I would say, 'Don't sweat it so much, it'll all work out.'"

Dr. Seddon has been inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame, as well.

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