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ABOUT

Within the Canadian Space Health Research Network, my role is to connect our amazing team of researchers with industry partners to foster collaborative projects. I’ve spent time in both the academic world and the business world, which has made me appreciate the unique challenges that sometimes preclude the two sides from working together. I hope to change that — to generate progress that not only serves the higher purpose of space exploration, but also improves health on Earth. I truly believe that the model of healthcare we need to build for spaceflight going forward (through the leadership of organizations like ours and the Canadian Space Agency) must stand on a foundation of Canadian values: evidence-based care, culturally-appropriate care, and equitable care.

To achieve this, we need people. We need diverse people. And we need to support those precious human resources.

As a woman who has been part of the space sector for almost a decade, I know all too well that there is a lack of diversity. When I first started fundraising for the Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge, there was nary a C-suite executive that was visibly from an under-represented group. A recent report by Earnst & Young corroborates this lack of diversity in the Canadian aerospace industry:

  • Men make up nearly 70% of the workforce

  • Only 3% are Indigenous

  • Almost half are over the age of 45 and nearing retirement

  • Fewer than 7% of workers are 25 or younger

  • Nearly three-quarters are non-immigrants

My goal is to raise funds to support our young trainees working on space health research projects. Specifically, I want to raise enough money to cover all expenses for 2-3 students to present their research at the largest space conference in the world: the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Your donation will solely be used to cover the cost of their flights, accommodations, congress registration fees, and stipend for food and transit.

Why IAC? When I was first starting out in my space career as a PhD student, I was privileged to be sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency to attend IAC in Adelaide, Australia and (without sounding too hyperbolic) it really changed my life. I hardly knew anyone else in the space sector at the time, but given the overwhelmingly large number of attendees (IAC is attended by more than 9000 people from across the globe), I quickly found my crowd — or what I’ve lovingly labelled my “space fam”. Those people are still my close friends today, and some have even become my colleagues and international research collaborators. I can’t even begin to express how important it is to build that international network, especially in the space industry, which is international by nature. I want others, especially those who might not normally get a chance, to share this experience.

I will be fundraising throughout my marathon training, leading up to the race: The Georgina Marathon, September 8th 2024. In addition, I will be making a Guinness World Record Official Attempt as Fastest Marathon Dressed as an Astronaut (Female). Organizations who donate $500 or more are entitled to advertise on the astronaut costume (sewn or iron-on logo patch). I will be making regular social media posts about my progress and training, as well as acknowledging those who donate.

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Thank you for your support!

Photo/Image credits: Rahul Ravin, Sebastiaan Stam, Guinness World Records

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