The Space Shuttle Discovery (mission STS-121) will go down in history not only for the fact that it is the first to launch on July 4 (Independence Day in the U.S.), but also because the first Italian-American woman on a manned space flight is part of its crew.
Lisa Marie (Caputo) Nowak, is from Salt Lake City, Utah. Her aunt, Cathy (Caputo) Hoskins, is, understandably, proud of her astronaut niece.
According to an account in the Salt Lake City Tribune:
For Hoskins, who is the sister of Nowak's father, Alfredo Caputo, her niece's launch is not only about a dream come true, but the effect it's had on the Italian-American community across the nation. Nowak is the first female Italian-American to go into space...
"We are all very proud of our Italian roots, and Lisa reflects well on a great heritage," Hoskins said.
The paper also said Nowak was honored by the National Organization of Italian American Women and featured on the cover of Italian America magazine. The mayor of Aiello, Italy, said he would make Nowak an honorary citizen of the Italian city.
According to Nowak's aunt: "So often you see Italian-Americans depicted as members of the mafia. It's so nice to see someone who has accomplished so much."
Amen to that.