Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides
Having been to the bottom of the ocean five times with Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron, and having spent four hours (in 30-second bursts) floating weightless in Zero Gravity's 727, Whitesides feels ready for her next adventure--taking a suborbital space flight with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.
With a master's degree in biology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford, and a passion for exploration and space travel, Whitesides wants to use her space flight to inspire the next generation with what is possible. She has a mission to teach young and old alike the value of dreaming big, taking care of our planet, and taking care of each other.
Whitesides, with her husband, George, is the co-creator of Yuri's Night, an annual worldwide space party celebrated every April 12 to honor the day the first human, Yuri Gagarin, and the first Shuttle flight launched.
She is an FAA certified flight attendant for Zero Gravity Corp's "G-Force One" with over 75 flights. Her dives to the bottom of the ocean are captured in Cameron's 3D IMAX Aliens of the Deep that premiered in 2005. She has also worked in the Canadian Arctic doing research on extreme environments for NASA.
Since coming to CWA for the first time in 2008, Whitesides has had two children with the support of awesome midwives. Her passions include making science cool, inspiring people with what they are capable of, being a connector, hiking, helping new moms, Star Wars, and Downton Abbey.