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She has gone on to become a veteran Nasa astronaut, and her next touch-down will be at this year's eighth New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin, to be held from June 30 to July 8.
Ms Wilson graduated from Taconic High School in 1984. She went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in engineering science from Harvard University in 1988, and a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1992.
From there, she was selected by Nasa in April 1996 and, after completing two years' training and evaluation, qualified for her first flight assignment as a mission specialist.
She went on space flights in the space shuttle Discovery in 2006, 2007 and 2010 - logging more than 42 days in space.
Festival director Chris Green said having a Nasa astronaut attend this year's festival was a "dream come true".
"At some stage of your life, you imagine what it would be like to be a Nasa astronaut and travel into space.
"Festival attendees will be able to hear first-hand from Stephanie what being an astronaut is all about - from the rigorous training it takes to become an astronaut, to what they eat when they are on a space mission.
"We are really excited to secure her attendance for 2012."
In keeping with the festival theme "What Makes Us Tick?", Ms Wilson will be involved in workshops for children, a family fun quiz night, presentations in Wall Street mall on July 4 (US Independence Day) and an evening presentation open to the public.