BRYAN / COLLEGE STATION, Texas (FOX 44) – A former astronaut will be speaking at the Texas A&M University on Tuesday.

The university said that when Eileen Collins was launching her career in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1970s and 1980s, there were no women whose career paths she could follow. She served as a military instructor and test pilot, then became the first woman to pilot and later command a NASA shuttle. Collins is also a retired Air Force colonel.

Collins will present Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars at Texas A&M. The program will take place from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in Rudder Auditorium – and will be hosted by Texas A&M LAUNCH and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).

Before the presentation, Collins will present two ASF scholarships of up to $15,000 – one to computer engineering senior Kevin Yao and the other to materials science and engineering senior Mack Cleveland.

STS-114 Commander Eileen Collins leads the way as the next Space Shuttle crew does a practice walkout from the Operations and Checkout Building. (Image Credit: NASA/KSC)

This event will be free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission. They are available at the Memorial Student Center Box Office – open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday – by phone at 979-845-1234, or online.

Collins will also be signing copies of her book, Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble Texas A&M Bookstore.

Collins became the U.S. Air Force’s first female flight instructor in 1979, and taught both flying and math for the next eleven years. She was selected as an astronaut in 1990 and became the first woman pilot of a U.S. space shuttle in 1995 – serving on the orbiter Discovery for a rendezvous and docking mission to the Russian space station Mir. She piloted a second shuttle flight in May 1997 – successfully docking the Atlantis with Mir to transfer personnel, equipment and supplies. In 1999, she became the first woman to command a shuttle mission.

The ASF presents the largest monetary award available to United States science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students based solely on merit. ASF has awarded more than $4 million in STEM scholarships since its establishment in 1984 by six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. ASF scholarships to Texas A&M are also supported by The Wreyford Family Foundation.