JoanHigginbothamDYK2And not only is she a native of Chicago, but she is also a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, class of 1987. Shortly after graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree that year, she began an extraordinary 10-year career with NASA.

Ms. Higgingbotham retired from NASA in 1996 after she took part in STS-116 on the Space Shuttle Discovery, during which time she spent 12 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes in space.

Learn more:
Want to learn more about Joan Higginbotham?
Watch and listen to Joan talk about her NASA career in her own words.

Did You Know? Cracker Jack was invented in IllinoisYou’ve heard the song. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…” is one of the most memorable line’s of baseball’s unofficial anthem.

You’ve probably tried the salty, sweet snack. But did you know it was invented in Illinois?

Cracker Jack, invented by Lewis and F.W. Rueckheim, is another of the many famous products that debuted at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair.

The legend goes the product – made of peanuts, molasses and popcorn – got its name when a salesman tried it and shouted, “That’s cracker jack!”

By 1907, sports enthusiasts at Major League ballparks throughout the nation were munching on the popular snack. In 1908, it featured prominently in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Learn more:
The official Cracker Jack page on Frito-Lay’s website
The history of Cracker Jack
Listen to the tune and read the lyrics of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Did You Know? NBA star Derrick Rose was born in IllinoisDerrick Rose was born Oct. 4, 1988, in Chicago. He grew up in the Englewood neighborhood in southwest Chicago. Rose attended Simeon Career Academy, where he led the team to back-to-back state championships. Following his graduation in 2007 he was named Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, selected to play for Team USA and played for the West team in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

Rose eventually chose to play college basketball at the University of Memphis, and during his first season (’07-’08) Rose and the Tigers earned the No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA tournament, but ultimately lost in the championship game to the University of Kentucky.

Declaring for the NBA draft after just one college season, Rose was drafted first overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. His NBA career started on a high note when he received rookie of the year honors in 2009. The following year the Chicago Bulls finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA and Rose received the MVP award, the youngest player ever to win it. The Bulls have had tremendous success since drafting Rose, but his career has been plagued with injuries due to ACL tears in both of his knees over the past two seasons.

On Sept. 23, 2014, Rose announced he is making a $1 million donation to the Chicago-based non-profit After School Matters. The organization currently serves about 15,000 at-risk Chicago teenagers. They set up a number of programs throughout the city for teens to partake in after school. Programs include the arts, communications, science, sports and technology.

Learn more:
Derrick Rose Official Website
Derrick Rose NBA Bio

Did You Know? NBC Channel 5 was the first all-color TV station?On Sunday April 15, 1956, WMAQ-TV became the first television station to broadcast exclusively in color.

At 4:15 p.m., Channel 5 became the world's first all-color TV station after then-President Robert W. Smarnoff pressed a button switching from black & white.

The transformation to all-color cost NBC more than $1.25 million, with an advertising budget of $175,000.

Learn more:
Check out the official NBC website.
This site has even more details about the conversion project!

Did You Know? MLB star Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets was born and raised here in IllinoisBorn in Blue Island, IL and raised in Lynwood, IL, the major league power slugger is a three-time MLB All-Star and even won the Silver Slugger Award, which goes to the best offensive player at each position, in 2011.

Granderson got his start playing baseball and basketball for Thornton Fractional High School, where he posted stellar numbers, leading to a scholarship to play baseball for the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. After his junior season, he was named Second-Team All-American after recording a standout .483 batting average, but not all of Granderson’s achievements came on the field. He graduated the next year with a double major in business administration and business marketing.

He made his major league debut for the Detroit Tigers in 2004, helping lead his team to the 2006 World Series, and in 2007, became only the second player in franchise history to have at least 30 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases in a single season.

After being traded to the New York Yankees in 2009, he was voted an All-Star for the first time. During his tenure with the Yankees, he would become the first player to record 40 home runs, 10 triples and 25 stolen bases in a single season! He finished fourth in MVP voting that year.

As of December of last year, he agreed to a four-year contract with the Yankees’ cross-town rival, the New York Mets. Off the field, Granderson founded the Grand Kids Foundation, benefiting education in inner cities, and even authored a children’s book. His total commitment to the next generation has garnished the praise of figures such as Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Learn more:
Look up a complete archive of Curtis Granderson’s career stats.
Visit his official ESPN page for everything from news articles, TV and radio interviews, infographics, to even projected stats for next season.