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STRATOS, a program that makes dreams come true

"One of the reasons people give up is that it doesn't always seem possible to reach their dreams. But the passion doesn't go away."

Magalie Durepos-Létourneau, 20 years old, intern at the Canadian Space Agency

Timmins, Ontario, early s. A local girl, head in the stars, dreams of space.

When Magalie was eight years old, she went camping with her parents in northern Ontario. They admired the splendour of the clear sky and the twinkling stars. A seed had been planted.

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau as a child, camping with her parents

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau as a child, camping with her parents. (Credit: Magalie Durepos-Letourneau)

Her passion for science took root and grew steadily, over time, nourished by her parents who encouraged her along the way. She excelled in school: not only was she good in math and science, but she also showed artistic flair. She created a dream board, on which she put logos of space agencies and companies. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was featured prominently.

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau is studying facing her dreamboard

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau is studying facing her dreamboard. (Credit: Magalie Durepos-Letourneau)

It makes sense: she had grown up very close to the Timmins base, where majestic stratospheric balloons were launched.

When she was 17, Magalie got so close to her dream she could almost touch it. She worked with Science Timmins to make her own experiment, which was then launched on a weather balloon.

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau is on Timmins' base to launch her stratospheric balloon

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau is on Timmins' base to launch her stratospheric balloon. (Credit: Magalie Durepos-Letourneau)

"I jumped at the opportunity right away […]. It was a dream to be able to apply science concepts directly linked to space. I don't know where I would be today if I hadn't had that chance."

With the support of scientists at the CSA, Magalie honed her skills in electronic welding and learned more about how scientific analysis software works. For the first time in her life, she was participating in every step of a science project. It was a meaningful experience that would greatly influence the next stage of her journey. "Being involved in a project from beginning to end is what opened many doors for me when it came time to register for university or a co-op program, or to apply for a scholarship."

Today, Magalie is in her third year at McMaster University in mechatronics engineering.

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau at McMaster University in Ontario

Magalie Durepos-Letourneau at McMaster University in Ontario. (Credit: Magalie Durepos-Letourneau)

This summer, she will return to the Timmins base, where it all started, for the Strato-Science campaign of the STRATOS program. This time, she'll be there as a CSA intern and will be have the opportunity to share her passion and her dreams with young people from her community.

Magalie's path to success is paved with stars!

How did Magalie achieve her dreams?

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