My Space School experience: Dream big and commit to it

Article by Sarah Kanuk
Kambala / 06 June 2019

Year 12 student, Sarah Kanuk, travelled to the USA in December 2018 with Alliance partner, Actura Australia, on an scholarship made possible by the Alliance and Actura. In this article Sara shares her experience.

The Case Space School was an incredibly inspiring, unforgettable experience. Not only did I learn so much about STEM careers and the science that is involved in the space industry, I also made some incredible friendships with like-minded girls in Australia and New Zealand.

Challenge X was a wonderful way to test our abilities as a scientist, businesswoman, innovator, advertiser, accountant, and, perhaps most importantly, a team member. Never before have I been in such a wonderful team of diverse strengths, and I feel we were all able to contribute to the team, and grow as a team. I certainly found that my collaboration skills were enhanced in Challenge X, as I learned to trust my team members to fulfil the roles they were delegated, and we learned to effectively communicate our sometimes-conflicting ideas in a productive manner, which ultimately led to us pitching our business plan and winning the Mission Management Award for our plan. Challenge X definitely enhanced my knowledge of commercial space flight, lunar habitation, and budgeting. More importantly, the Challenge taught me about leadership, collaboration, creativity and committing to a dream. In this way, Challenge X also taught me some of the Seven Daily Success Principles, which I have continued to use in different aspects of my life.

Space University was phenomenal! I loved how the structure of the program engaged our competitive side, which motivated us to work harder. Space U, like Challenge X, built our team working skills, and it also showed us how capable we are as students. We were able to learn, synthesise and apply so much knowledge in such a short amount of time, creating cryogenic chambers, heat-resistant tiles, model rockets, mars habitation unit models, robot arms, code to manipulate the actions of a robot, and more. From this experience, I have learned a lot of STEM concepts, and I have also learned that I am more capable than I had previously thought. I just have to “Dream Big and Commit to It.”

The Ad Astra visit was a fantastic trip. I am grateful to have been exposed to such cutting-edge technology; it was truly inspiring. Another thing that I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to connect with the people involved. At Ad Astra, I made a connection with the woman in charge of PR and HR, and discussed the possibility of an internship in the future. Even if that doesn’t pan out, I am so very grateful to have made such important connections, such as at Ad Astra, Microsoft, Rice University, and NASA, connections which I wouldn’t have otherwise made. I do believe that this expanded network will help me in my future endeavours.

It would be insufficient to say that I would never forget the experience, so, rather, I will say that I will always use the experience. The lessons that I learned, especially the Seven Daily Success Principles, will stay with throughout my schooling and my career, within my social sphere, and whenever I want to achieve anything. I believe that Case Space School has provided me with many incredible memories, has led to amazing and supportive friendships, and has set me up for success in the future. This experience was incredibly worthwhile, and I strongly recommend it for girls with big ambitions.