As we live in an age where media is highly influential, having positive models will allow a game-changer phase to let the young people see that pursuing engineering and technology fields is attainable by anyone.
This strong sentiment is what Natalie Panek, a mission systems engineer in robotics and automation at Canada’s MDA Corp., firmly believes. A wider perspective is necessary, which looks at the statistics regarding women advancing in their careers into leadership, director-level, and board-level positions according to her.
Rocket Women (Source: miupr)
As a child, watching TV shows like Star Trek and Stargate SG-1 inspired her to a life’s calling- Space. She just not designs rovers but also aims to inspire women to pursue their dreams and see their reflections in the industry. She also pointed out resolving problem on retaining women in STEM fields throughout their careers. Women must not be hindered to rise up and advance in their careers, she implied.
Natalie Panek is a rocket scientist and an explorer, as she calls herself, who dreams to become an astronaut. Now, she works with her team to build chassis and locomotion system for the European Space Agency’s 2018 ExoMars Rover. She was recently named as Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Woman’s Executive Network.
She is a vocal advocate for woman in technology according to The Financial Post and named under Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015.
Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz
Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, also sees that diversity in her industry is imperative. Thus, conducting more research is needed to back this up.
Rocket Women (Source: miupr)
She also argued on a report on recruiting women into technical positions by the Anita Borg Institute that there are consistent blind spots in recruiting and hiring practices. There are hiring processes that are implicitly biased lacking organizational infrastructure to support diversity efforts.
It recommends to take up steps like blind resume screening process, showing technical women during the interview process and that every technical position has a viable female candidate.
She was inspired to pursue her field upon her interest in chemistry and physics in high school. Wanting a career consisting both, she participated a research program at the New York Academy of Sciences. Someone suggested astronomy and brought her to work with a professor in New York University on chemistry of planetary atmospheres. From there, she immediately was fascinated in the field.
Now, as an astronomer, she works both on research and public education. Lucianne currently works on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project which she says the flagship observatory for the next decade.
Vinita Marwaha Madill
As a consultant in space engineering and STEM outreach and founder of Rocket Women, Vinita focused on women and space. She aims to encourage more women to enter the field.
Vinita Marwaha Madill works as engineering manager leading the Intelligent Transportation Systems Team in Canada. She also stints as an International Space Station operations engineer at the German Aerospace Center.
Rocket Women (Source: King’s College)
She works on a diversity of designing smart roads and spacesuits, proposing parabolic flights and the likes.
Vinita found her fascination in space back in his childhood days in London where she learned about Helen Sharman, a chemist and the first British astronaut, who flew to Mir. At the age of 6, she was fond of the space as her parents took her planetarium and space centers.
She suggests that to encourage more women, they should think about careers in space, science and other equivalent fields that would focus impact of technology to mankind.
From here, we see that women as equals can also advance in science and technology. Nothing should hinder them as they could positively influence the young people to pursue their dreams and express themselves in their chosen paths.
These young professionals indeed are gems of the womankind.