LIVING WITHOUT BOUNDARIES: When former astronaut F. Story Musgrave was growing up on a Stockbridge dairy farm in the 1940s, there was no precedent for the 30-year career he would go on to have with NASA. Now 77, the biggest lesson he wants to impart when he visits Framingham State University on Wednesday is how important it is to embrace lifelong learning.
Musgrave’s free public presentation, “Education: Preparation for the Unknown and Unexpected,” will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center.
Musgrave (inset, right), who now lives in Kissimmee, Fla., left St. Mark’s School in Southborough at age 17, before graduation, to enlist in the Marines and go to Korea. He received training as an aircraft electrician and engine mechanic. He returned to school after the war, and over the next three decades earned multiple college degrees, including a medical degree from Columbia, and has been awarded 20 honorary doctorates.
He was selected by NASA in 1967 as a scientist-astronaut, and flew on six space flights. He performed the first shuttle spacewalk on Challenger’s first flight, and led the spacewalk team repairing the Hubble telescope.
He currently teaches design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and operates a palm tree farm in Orlando, a sculpture company in Burbank, Calif., and a production company in Sydney, Australia.
Musgrave estimates that his speaking career keeps him on the road up to 70 percent of the year. While he misses his wife and seven children, the youngest of whom is a 7-year-old daughter, he is driven to share the principles that have guided his life: remaining receptive to new ideas and technology, focusing on one’s strengths, and approaching change with courage.
“It’s one step at a time to make a life for yourself,” he said. “Focus on what you’re doing now, complete it, and look for the doors that open up. Prepare for the unknown, because you don’t know where life is going. Just leap off and go.”
INTERNATIONAL HONOR: Newton resident Cheryl Lawton Malone , who teaches creative writing at Lesley University and at Grub Street in Boston, recently earned second place in an international contest of poetry for children.
Formerly a lawyer in the biotech industry for 22 years, Malone launched her career as a writer five years ago. This was her first time entering the March Madness Poetry tournament sponsored by Think Kid, Think! , which narrowed 64 entrants through six rounds of voting over 21 days.
Contestants were given a new word to use in a poem every three days. Challenged with the word “finagle,” for example, Malone (inset) wrote the poem “Wee Mischief’’: “I chased a laughing leprechaun/across a tater field/and caught him with a pot of coins/whose sheen he tried to shield./He said, ‘You’ll not finagle me,/though humans always try./My gold will bring you sorrow when/ the tax man wanders by.’”
Malone’s other challenge words were “malarkey,” “involuntary,” “canoodle,” “hullabaloo,” and “acknowledge.” Her friends’ children immortalized her final poem, “The Vowel Rap,” into a video on YouTube.
Malone said the contest was fun, but intense. It also raised the issue of what constitutes poetry for children.
“Kids’ poems can be funny and serious,” said Malone, who also writes picture books, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction for adults. “Just like adult poetry, it shouldn’t be dumbed down or made slapstick. It should just be what it is.”
OVERSEAS CHALLENGE: Sophomore Shannon Healey of Southborough will represent the Boston College women’s rowing team in Vietnam from Thursday to June 17 through the Coach for College service program.
Healey is one of 17 American student-athletes from college rivals nationwide who will travel to Hau Giang Province, about six hours from Ho Chi Minh City. Paired with bilingual Vietnamese students, they will teach academics, sports, and life skills to students in grades 6 to 9 from rural communities.
Healey, who graduated from Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough in 2011, will attend the first of four three-week camp sessions. She will teach math and coach basketball to students, many of whom walk or bike miles to school. For most, it will be the first time they have received formal instruction in sports.
Healey, a communications major with a concentration in management and leadership, said she is interested in “expanding my viewpoint of the world” while sharing skills that will enable the Vietnamese youth to effect change in their own communities.
“I’ve always been the one coached, so to try to coach in a new culture with a language barrier will be completely new,” said Healey, who played intramural basketball last fall at Boston College. “If I can make a difference, it will be time well spent.”
LIBRARY OF DISTINCTION: The Newton Free Library Programs and Communications Department received a first place Public Relations Award at the Massachusetts Library Association conference, which took place last month in Cambridge.
The blue ribbon in the Merchandise Category was awarded for the library’s free booklet, “Newton Free Library Permanent Collection of Art: A Self-Guided Tour.” Hundreds of hard copies were distributed to patrons at the library’s Get the Scoop event last September. Audio and digital versions of the tour are available at www.newtonfreelibrary.net.
Newton resident Ellen Meyers, director of programs and communications at the library, attributed the project’s success to the library staff and the print shop at Newton North High School. A display featuring the award entry, blue ribbon, and certificate will be on view in the library atrium through May 30.
ADDRESSING BREAST CANCER:Dr. Eric Winer of Boston and Ronni Cohen-Boyar of Sharon will discuss “The Power of Pink: A Serious Breast Cancer Discussion” at the next Walden Forum, taking place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wayland Middle School, 201 Main St.
A Harvard Medical School professor, Winer is director of the Breast Oncology Center, and the Thompson senior investigator in breast cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Topics will include the types of breast cancer, improvements in screenings and treatments, clinical trials, and reductions in funding in the economic downturn.