We asked Carla, one of our students with a great talent for computer science to tell us something about this day dedicated to female careers in scientific disciplines, also called STEM.
Carla recently met Rhea Seddon, doctor, astronaut and author, live from the United States.
The Let’s Get Inspired in which she participated motivated her to fight even more for her dreams. For this reason, she decided to dedicate this writing to Doctor Rhea Seddon.
“When I met Dr. Seddon, I realized that no dream is too big for anyone who truly believes in it. It is not uncommon for anyone who is passionate about STEM to be labeled as a mad scientist or just another Sheldon Cooper.
But what are STEMs in reality and which models can we refer to?
STEM is an acronym composed by the words science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is a term used to indicate the scientific-technological disciplines and related courses of study. Basically, that’s all most people associate with nerds. In reality, STEM is today an incredible gateway to the world of work and scientific progress.
It’s something I would like to dedicate my life to and in a small part I am already working on it. I attend high school and even with the Dual Diploma I never miss an opportunity to explore deeper the subject I love. I am attending the Concepts of Engineering and Technologies course with great profit.
I am aware that, what for me is a positive challenge, like math (!!), may not be every student’s best friend. Sometimes I, too, find it hard to understand and I wonder how to get past the blocks that I create for myself. But I also believe that the feeling of succeeding, overcoming the obstacles and reaching the desired result is priceless. It’s almost as great as programming a system from zero or becoming an astronaut.
Doctor Rhea Seddon is also well aware of this: with her enviable experience in multiple careers, she has motivated me to give my best to find my way.
In fact, Rhea Seddon was first a surgeon, then an astronaut and later an author.
When she was only 10 years old, she turned her eyes to the sky for the first time in the occasion of the launch of Sputnik, the Russian satellite. However, she was too young, and at that time NASA did not consider hiring women.
During her educational path she discovered that she was strongly interested in biology, and that she would have liked to continue her studies in the medical field. She found that this path was also compatible with her fascination with space, because it eventually led her to do medical research on life in space.
Many years later and with a different career from the one she had imagined she was able to realize her dream of when she was a child and to take off with a Space Program.
She trained very hard to prepare for space travel and did not hide her initial anxiety. She was perfectly aware of the risk she was taking, but at the same time she couldn’t ignore the benefits of taking part in such an important mission. First of all, she could have deepened her subject of interest: the human ability to adapt in space. The only thing to do was ignore the fear and be thrilled by the unique possibility she had obtained.
“when I finally got my first flight the boosters ignited and eight and a half minutes later I was in space so it was an awesome journey and very strange but very exciting”
When Dr. Seddon told us about the training needed to be part of space missions, I felt catapulted into the land of technology. For a second, I had the idea of running for a space program myself!
All astronauts leaving for a mission, in fact, should learn everything that humanity today knows about space, but not only that. They needed to know every detail and procedure required to operate a space shuttle. To begin with, they had to know perfectly well the physics that allow the space shuttle to fly, how the electricity worked on board and how the engines pushed a ship straight into space. Obviously, it was also essential to learn how to use the computers and instruments aboard the space shuttle.
Part of the preparation involved some unusual simulations, useful for emergencies, such as a jungle landing and related survival tactics.
Great importance was also given to the study of geology, geography and oceanography, so that they were able to photograph and report what they believed to be dangerous for the earth.
Women in STEM disciplines
I finally mustered my courage and asked her some advice for all youngsters interested in science.
She replied that there are many sciences that will be part of our future, but that what matters the most is doing something that inspires you. Many times, in fact, she is asked what is the scientific background needed to become part of a space program: in her case it was medicine, but in other missions the discriminating factor could be information technology. I really hope that’s my case.
Dr. Rhea Seddon was one of the first women to work in the space program. She has also repeatedly assumed leadership positions in space missions. I especially want to thank her today, a special day dedicated to women who work in the STEM sector. Today more than ever we are talking about it, with incentives and new projects.
I feel lucky to be passionate about this world. Another lucky event for me was meeting Dr. Seddon during Let’s Get Inspired. A career in space missions has always seemed too beautiful and distant to become true, but this webinar has opened my eyes. By continuing to engage in the study of what I love, I may one day even end up working for NASA.
Maybe it’s true that STEMs are nerdy, but now I feel they can be my passport to space!”