Assistant Lecturer, Space Engineering
I was born/grew up in: Welwyn Garden City, UK
I now live in: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
I completed my training/education at: University of Southampton, UK
Describe what you do at work.
I teach courses in space mission design, space physics, professional engineering practice and "natural and human-made disasters". Part of my non-teaching work involves serving on various committees here at York University. I also engage in active research on issues related to spacecraft and space travel. I use STEM logic when approaching any new problem. I use my core maths and physics skills, but also use language and artistic skills to share ideas - storytelling is important for engineers too!
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
My role in the space industry has helped generate new discoveries about space. It has helped address some of the financial costs of getting into space. My new teaching role tries to help support the next generation succeed in their efforts to find solutions to make the world a better place.
What motivates you in your career?
I find it very rewarding to see young engineers and students get excited about what they can do and how they can change the world. I feel lucky to be part of the education that can help them succeed. It brings me great pleasure when my knowledge of the space industry helps students understand theory. I am passionate about the role of engineering to help society. I put that passion into action in my work.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
My first degree was in Aerospace Systems Engineering. I worked with British Airways for a while and then completed a PhD in satellite image processing. I did some postdoctoral research with the French Space Agency and had various technical positions in the European Space Industry. Later I worked as the mission engineering technical manager in the Canadian space industry before joining York University. I consider myself a lifelong learner and am always looking for personal challenge and growth.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Playing with my son and watching him grow is one huge activity outside work that I always want more time for. I am also a flautist, avid reader (Jasper Fforde is one of my favourite authors, but I read an eclectic mix). I volunteer for professional societies (as all professionals should). I am also a reluctant gardener (I enjoy gardening when I am doing it, but it takes a long time for me to start, and I ache after!)
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Follow your passion. If you are struggling with theoretical material, look to understand where you might need it or why it might matter. Recognize engineering as a team activity and look to help, with your strengths, wherever you can. Challenge yourself.