Astronaut candidate's profile
What is your current job?
Lecturer, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge - I study flames, how we use them, and how to stop them from emitting harmful pollutants. I also teach undergraduate and graduate students in the Fluids, Turbomachinery, and Energy division on topics ranging from conventional and alternative energy production to introductory thermodynamics or flame physics. Aside from these formal responsibilities, I always try to act as a role model for young women considering technical careers in science-related fields.
Why do you want to become an astronaut?
I want to become an astronaut because it provides an incredible challenge. It aligns with my interests in the advancement and application of science for the benefit of society. It will also provide me with a platform from which I may inspire a diverse group of young people to pursue their interests in science and engineering subjects.
What motivated you to study in your field?
I like to figure out how useful things work and, when I started studying engineering, I decided to study combustion because it is a fascinatingly complex process involving so many different phenomena. This complexity makes fire interesting and incredibly challenging to study. Beyond this specialization, I also knew academic research was the ideal job for me because it would mean I was always on the forefront of scientific discovery. I now have the opportunity to learn new things about useful combustion processes and apply what I know to make our energy and propulsion devices better.
Think back to a teacher who had a positive impact on your life. What did she/he do to influence you?
The special teachers who still stand out in my mind were the ones who went out of their way to provide me with whatever I needed to build my interest and foster my curiosity in subjects that I enjoyed. One teacher in particular had a unique capability to find out exactly what would excite her students. That level of attention and effort to engage students stands out as the most encouraging and impactful instruction I’ve ever received.
What do you like best about your job?
My favourite part of my job is the interaction I have with students. Whether it’s through supervision in the laboratory or lecture theatre, I have a wonderful opportunity to teach young people about science and engineering. This is, I believe, the most exciting, unique, and satisfying part of my job.
Which living person do you most admire? OR Who are your heroes in real life?
I look up to women who were early pioneers in engineering and science fields. These heroes include computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronauts Roberta Bondar, Julie Payette and Mae Jemison; and engineer Nancy Fitzroy. All of those women have had careers marked by bravery, skill, and incredible perseverance.
What is your favourite sci-fi movie?
What is your motto?
Fortune favours the brave.
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