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Astronaut Peggy Whitson wins Drake award

DES MOINES - A female space pioneer wins a prestigious award at Drake University.

Peggy Whitson tells Local 5 what the award means to her, and how it compares to all her other triumphs in space. 

"It is a huge hone to be getting this award in his name," said Whitson.

Mount Ayr native, Peggy Whitson has many honors, but you can now add another one to her list. She was just given Drake's Ray Pillar of Character award.

From honors and awards, to breaking records in space, Whitson has done it all. 

She credits some of her success to astronauts before her, who helped lay the foundation for females in space.

"I feel so lucky that my journey although there were lots of struggles, I think a lot of women ahead of me broke a lot of barriers. And I think we should take faith and feel some sense of accomplishment for that even with the next generation and the generation after."

And speaking of the next generation, Whitson says she wants to be involved in making sure kids believe they can do anything they set their mind to. 

"You can do these things, it is not impossible, just push yourself and you will be sucessful."

And to help foster that success, Whitson says she'll be more involved with STEM-based education. 

"I really want to promote STEM education in young people, especially young girls because they need to know its really cool to be a scientist or explorer, or anything they want to be."

And that's just what this legendary astronaut did. Looking back at some of her biggest achievements she pinpointed her favorite.

"I think most significant in my career was the fact that i became the first non-military Chief of the Astronaut Office."

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