August 3, 1964 – Astronaut Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham BornNASA astronaut and engineer Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham was born August 3, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University Cabondale in 1987 and she received her Masters of Management Science in 1992 and Masters in Space Systems in 1996 from Florida Institute of Technology. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and The Links, Incorporated. In April of 1996 she was selected as a candidate in the astronaut program by NASA. Higginbotham became a member of the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 Crew and flew as a mission specialist. She made a decision in November of 2007 to leave NASA for the private sector.