Women in the space industry pave the way for girls to join them


Not only are women occupying a range of roles in the space industry — they’re actively encouraging other women (and girls) to enter the profession. Natalie Panek, a mission systems engineer in robotics and automation, whose Canada-based team is working on the European Space Agency’s 2018 ExoMars Rover, has a blog thepanekroom.com, in which she shares the “extraordinary experiences [that] have shaped her dreams of becoming an astronaut.”

Astronomer Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz not only conducts research in her job at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, but also speaks with guests to the facility, and last year participated in the first Adler Galaxy Ride — a biking science road-show from Chicago to St. Louis.

Vinita Marwaha Madill, a consultant in space engineering and STEM outreach, is also the founder of the Rocket Women website, where she posts interviews with women working globally in STEM fields, particularly space-related ones.

“Watching Helen Sharman’s Soyuz launch on BBC News at a young age, and knowing that there had been a British female astronaut, helped me push through any negativity around my chosen career path when I was younger,” Madill says. “I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut, or at least work in human space flight. And eventually I did. But I wouldn’t have had that impetus and drive if I hadn’t known that someone had come before me.”

Read the full story at Fast Company.


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