Southland Girls’ High School pupil Sophie Ineson and classmates meet with NASA Interns
“I think it is very cool they get to learn … space is for everyone, not just for astronauts or men.”
– Sophie Ineson
How do you Organize a Women in Space program? You Planet! Space puns aside, U.S/NZ Scientific collaboration is thriving, particularly in the growing Space sector. In February 2021, following a news piece about Southland Girls student, Sophie Ineson, and her interest in seeing more women involved in the space industry, the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs team headed ‘down south’ to visit Dunedin and Invercargill in an effort to address Sophie’s call to action.
Of course, Public Affairs couldn’t achieve this alone…
Rose Swears, Lynley St George, and Emily Kendall – three former and current NASA and NASA JPL interns paving the way for kiwi women to work in the space industry – joined Chargé d’ Affaires Kevin Covert to speak with students at Southland Girls High School and Columba College. They shared their education and career experiences in STEM, insights on navigating the international science industry as young kiwi women, and their own experience working for NASA in the U.S.
Students at both schools were engaged, encouraged and enthusiastic about space science, and asked intelligent, hard-hitting questions (everyone is now all well-versed in the physics behind Black Holes!)
Sophie surveyed her follow students before, and following, the visit with most students describing the program as informing, amazing, inspirational, and could identify a wide range of careers in the space industry other than ‘astronaut’.
Sophie says, “The U.S Embassy visit has encouraged me to keep using my creative skills alongside science to make dreams possible for myself and others. I would love to be the space version of Nano Girl and educate and inspire other students just like the Interns did at our school. The feedback from our students shows just how important it is we connect with others so we can have confidence in our dreams and know there are other people out there who will understand our hopes and dreams. The future is an unknown so I will continue to challenge myself in different ways and know that some pathways’ I take may come to an end and that’s ok but to have the determination and vision to try another way. I will continue to grow my knowledge and skills in science, extend myself in drama and dance and investigate how I might be able to learn skills in media so I can make documentaries to share with others. “
Thank you Sophie, Southland Girls High School, Columba College, Rose, Lynley and Emily, for making this experience out-of-this-world!For more information on NASA Internship opportunities for kiwis, visit MBIE – NASA Internships.
- One giant leap for Sophie’s space dream.
- Space not just for ‘geeky physicists’, NASA intern says.
- Invercargill schoolgirl challenges space industry norms.
- Special visit for Southland schoolgirl pushing for more women to explore careers in space.