Three Professionals Who Dream of the Stars And Thrive on Earth
In part one and two of this series we’ve journeyed around the globe to learn how space-inspired professionals from USA, Australia, France, Ireland and Slovakia are harnessing their diverse backgrounds and skills to thrive in ways that can inspire us all. Let’s now continue this journey by meeting a new set of three experts from Canada, California and (currently) New Zealand.
Kristine Holloway has been a passionate STEM teacher for ten years in Ontario, Canada, where she also founded the Code4Girlz organization. While she strives to prepare students for life on Earth, she has also looks to space for the challenges it inspires. In her early years, she was inspired by Canada’s first Astronaut Marc Garneau and tinkering with her HAM radio. Kristine is a founding member of the Mars Generation, and attended the Canadian Space Agency’s Educator program in 2010, and the Honeywell’s Educator Space Program in Huntsville, Alabama. She also has qualifications in Specialized Applied Geography and Remote Sensing.
Kristine feels humbled by all of the space-centric experiences she has been afforded.
In her view, “Earth is not unlike the speck of dust that floats past Horton in Dr. Seuss’ ‘Horton Hears a Who.’ And yet, that speck holds an entire planet, a whole world … Our purpose as global citizens and Earth’s guardians are to ensure we care for our planet and preserve the beauty of the blue marble.”
These beliefs have seen her students participate in the ClimateAction.info project by investigating the plastic-munching potential of the larva stage of a Darkling Beetle as a potential solution to the garbage problem here on Earth.
Bob Barboza gained an interest in space only recently, in 2014, when he wanted to create a special program for the students he knew to be capable of designing, building, repairing and test driving satellites, robots and Martin habitats. This passion for giving students access to a level of engineering usually reserved only for adults has seen him involved in an incredible range of space-connected organizations such as NASA for Kids, CUE, Planetary Society, Mars Society, and the Southern California Robotic Society.
Bob’s ultimate space goal is to invite students from around the world to join him in Los Angeles, California to form NASA-style Tiger Teams that study robotics, space science and conduct science experiments that are related to Mars. The challenges that the teams work on are all designed to give them the engineering experience normally reserved only for NASA-level employees – meaning they leave school incredibly well prepared to thrive at an advanced level, no matter what future projects they take on.
Science communicator Lisa Stojanovski‘s passion for space started when she was 10. Her Dad had purchased a huge, heavy booked titled Universe, which she read from cover to cover, absorbing it all, in her words, ‘like a sponge’. She then recalls setting up a camp chair and telescope in her yard during a lunar eclipse, where she sat out all night writing notes and taking pictures, with neighbors coming over to ask what she was doing. Since then she has earned a Master’s degree in Science Communication, supported SciTech and Questacon, studied with International Space University, been the Australian Point of Contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council, become a key correspondent for YouTube space and science show TMRO, and currently works as communications advisor for New Zealand rocket launch company Rocket Lab.
When asked what her ultimate space goal is, she replied:
To help humans become multiplanetary. I think it’s incredibly important for us as a species, and as beings capable of observing this wonderful universe we live in. We have … a drive of curiosity and of sharing knowledge that will empower us to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
This passion for space has also changed the way Lisa lives life on Earth. She sees that it has led her to modify a lot of behaviors to leave as little impact on the planet as possible by becoming vegetarian, and by reducing waste as much as possible. She has also become keenly aware of how beautiful this planet is and how she might have to leave it. Such thinking will be key for her next chapter, as she prepares to participate in the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (Hi-SEAS) mission, simulating life on Mars while living for 8 months on the side of a volcanic crater.