What inspired you to pursue your dream of being an astronaut?
I first got interested in space when I was just a little girl. My dad remembers me asking questions about space and Mars. Our best guess as to what sparked my interest is an episode of The Backyardigans. This was a TV show I used to watch as a kid, which had a Mission to Mars episode. This is the only situation we can think of where I would have heard the word space. The more I learned about space later, the more I loved it.
What has been your favourite part of aerospace training?
I’ve loved all the hands-on experience I’ve been able to get in my life — from working with space suits, floating in microgravity, learning about water survival, and much more. One of the best experiences I’ve had was when I got to fly a fighter jet as part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. During this flight, I could pull 9.1 Gs, equivalent to nine times my body weight pushing down on me with pressure. It was surreal.
What’s your impression of Canada’s role in the future of aerospace and aviation?
I think Canada has a large role in the future of aerospace and aviation. I’ve completed a microgravity campaign at the National Research Council Canada (NRC). I also did gravity-offset training with space suits at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). From my experiences, Canada has played a major role in research and facilities. I’m excited to see the next steps for Canada in the space industry.
What advice can you offer to women and young girls interested in the industry?
Women or young girls interested in the space industry should 100 per cent pursue it. It’s such an exciting time with so many opportunities for young women. If you’ve found an interest, follow your dreams, and never let anyone take your dreams away. Tell people about what you’re interested in doing because the industry is always looking for more girls who are passionate. Although space can seem male-dominated, the women working in the space industry are welcoming and inspiring.
Will you be taking a trip to Mars anytime soon?
The current plans are to start going to Mars in the early 2030s. Of course, this time frame could change, but hopefully, that’s when we will see the first humans travel to Mars.