Uploaded on February 12, 2018
Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons' story
2018-02-12 - Discover how Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons reached her dream of becoming an astronaut thanks to inspiring role models, her passion for science and her mother’s support.
She now tries to be a role model herself, encouraging the next generation of Canadians to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, Institution of Engineering and Technology, NASA)
Jenni Sidey: My name is Jenni Sidey and I’m an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency
Text: What’s your background?
Jenni Sidey: I did my engineering degree back at McGill University. Eventually, I had this really cool professor who studied fire. And, I did some combustion experiments in microgravity which got me interested in fire and space.
Text: Who inspired you?
Jenni Sidey: When I was growing up Roberta Bondar was really important to me. She's this amazing role model as Canada's first female astronaut, inspiring me to pursue a career in science.
Text: Who else?
Jenni Sidey: I was really fortunate with my mom. Even though she’s not from a scientific background, she did everything that she could to encourage me to look at science subjects and keep exploring. That was really special.
Text: What were you like as a child?
Jenni Sidey: I was really into rocks when I was little. I had a spreadsheet, I had a labelling system, I carried around vinegar with me to test whether rocks were limestone. But like, everywhere.
Text: How did your mother encourage you?
Jenni's Mom: Jen was like “Ah, I’m gonna go collect rocks on Mars”. So I held the rocks, and we collected… right? … we collected rocks.
Text: How did that make you feel?
Jenni Sidey: That was so wonderful, so… Just anything to kind of encourage that, and I think I benefitted from that enormously. So it isn’t just the role model but it was also this encouragement I had at home from my mom.
Text: And now, how do you encourage the next generation?
Jenni Sidey: Being a role model is very important to me because I’m in a very male dominated environment. So, for my students, trying to encourage them and act as a role model if I can, just to inform and inspire. That’s really important to me.
Text: Why is encouraging your child important?
Jenni's Mom: You see those sparks. You see that interest. You see that growth. I think every child deserves to live their dream.
Text: Jenni, a final word?
Jenni Sidey: I truly believe that if you study subjects like science, engineering, technology, mathematics or medicine, you can earn the skills that you need to become whatever you want. Even if what you want is to become an astronaut.