One small step for 210 girls, one giant leap for the future of women in STEM

Article by Bethany Hiatt
Seven West Media / 15 December 2017

As reported by the West Australian and Herald Sun.

HASSE Space School at NASA is be providing girls from across Australia with an unforgettable STEM experience as 210 students from 35 girls’ schools across the country headed off on the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia trip on 8 and 9 December, in partnership with Actura.

Dubbed ‘youth astronaut training’ the two-week hands-on program promotes dynamic teamwork skills as the girls work together on simulated missions to repair the international space station, design a Mars habitat, experience limited gravity training, learn forensics, discover NASA robotics and explore personal growth skills. This is the first such trip that Western Australian students will be attending.

Jenny Ethell, Principal of Perth College, said it was an exceptional opportunity for students to see STEM techniques in an advanced and inspirational environment.

‘The girls will experience first-hand how science, technology, engineering and maths can be applied in a creative and exciting professional setting, an ideal way to inspire them into STEM careers,’ said Jenny.

‘As educators, we are thrilled that our students will have this unique chance to acquire new skills to equip them for the rapidly changing workplace and other challenges of the future,’ she said.

Perth College student Erin Carlson (Year 8) received a scholarship to attend Space Camp and said she found it hard to express how excited she was.

‘It’s an absolutely amazing opportunity to learn more about what influences and shapes our world,’ she said.

‘I’ll be able to see the practical side of STEM subjects, as opposed to learning from a textbook, and it’s also a chance to improve my interpersonal connections.’

The trip is split into a Junior Space School, for students from Years 7-9 and Space University for students from Years 10-12

Some of the trip highlights:

Junior Space School

  • Tour the Johnson Space Centre – NASA’s leading facility
  • Mission training – limited gravity trainer
  • Teamwork to solve simulated missions
    • Landing a rover on Mars
    • Construct and launch a rocket
  • CSI style forensics course
  • Space suits, living in space and the shuttle program
  • Meet a NASA astronaut

Space University

  • Visit the Space Lab
  • Formulate budgets for their own space mission
  • Learn about NASA robotics and Robonaut technology
  • VIP tour of the Space Centre in Houston
  • Teamwork to solve simulated missions
    • Design a Mars rover including landing parachutes and thermal heat shields
    • Design a Mars habitat