Guest blog post from Daddio, my first and forever Valentine, Mr. Tommy Dunn!
Jocelyn asked me back in November to write a guest blog post. I told her I would after the holidays and after her sister’s wedding. I am generally a private person especially when it comes to family. But I think writing this will be an easy task, since Jocelyn gave me so much information to help me get started with writing my first blog post. She's an amazing woman.
Aloha is a greeting that I thought was well outside the compounds of Sebring, Florida. But it will stay with me forever now. When people ask what Jocelyn is up to these days. I tell them she is in Hawaii on top of a volcano, doing research for HI-SEAS and NASA. Then questions follow. I advise them to google Jocelyn Dunn and read more about her and the mission. When I mention isolation, they are surprised and wonder if they could do it, most say no.
The four Dunn children growing up in Sebring, FL - Jocelyn in green hat, sister Kayla beside her, and twin brothers Eric and Steven enjoying bottles of milk.
Her interests in space led her to Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach, where she excelled in academics in aerospace engineering and played for the varsity golf team. They did very well also competing in national championship tournaments each year. Then onto Purdue, for graduate school in biomedical engineering and now a PhD candidate in systems engineering. As you can see, she is a very driven and disciplined person, student and athlete.
When the HI-SEAS project popped up, she called me very excited and wanted to become a part of it. As a parent, I cautioned her that spending time isolated, would change her, and we spoke of missing holidays, friends, family functions, weddings, funerals, and time in university. I tried to take a very objective look at what she was saying and advised her to do her homework, find out the who, what, when, and where of it. She did, then applied, but was disappointed not to get in on the first 4-month mission. I told her if it was meant to be it'd happen.
It did happen, in record speed, like a 60 day notice to participate in the 8-month mission. For Jocelyn to make arrangements with her PhD program, find a sub-lease, and move all of her belongings out of Chicago, was a feat in itself. Before she went off to Hawaii, we had some one-on-one time with her, enjoying some golf, good food and spirits with neighbors, family, and friends. Everyone tried to give her lots of positive influence prior to going into the habitat.
The last hoorah before heading to Hawaii for HI-SEAS 8-month mission
Jocelyn visiting Dad at Road America, American Le Mans Series Race
For me, I guess the best way that I can look at this is, that we all could be on a beach somewhere looking out at the ocean and still believing that the Earth is flat. It takes people like these six crewmembers who are willing to sacrifice time away from friends, family and fun events, to move science and research forward. They are pioneers. And Its NASA’s way of doing their homework finding out the who, what, when and where.
Daddy Dunn and young Jocelyn on a beach in Florida
And congratulations, you're halfway home!