What happens when girls meet women with awe-inspiring career trajectories? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how inspiring women role models can help girls reach for the stars. That’s what happened when Girl Guides in Paradise, NL, met Bethany Downer, the first scientist-astronaut candidate from Newfoundland and Labrador.
When she isn’t training for a potential future space journey, Bethany works in the international space sector, speaking on behalf of space organizations, planning astronomy events and more. She’s also a big time believer in girls setting big time dreams for themselves – that anything is possible and they too can be absolutely everything they want to be.
Hearing how Bethany blazed her own career path was an out-of-this-world experience for girls – a chance to see what they too might achieve one day. It was all systems go as Bethany described the endless opportunities available in the space industry, highlighted her educational journey in science (geography) and space studies, and spoke about her recent weightlessness training. She was even more excited to hear from the girls. (After all, Guiding is that girl-friendly place where girls know they can raise their hands in confidence.) Bethany fielded queries about her favourite planet, whether she believes in aliens and how she will sleep in space.
Only two Canadian women know what our planet looks like from space – Dr. Roberta Bondar, a neurologist and former Girl Guide, and current Governor General Julie Payette. As for who’s next, perhaps it’s one of the Brownies, Guides or Pathfinders who heard Bethany speak. Who knows, one of these girls might take a mission to Mars, or maybe they’ll invent a new career path for themselves. When girls have the chance to build their confidence through the kinds of activities Guiding offers, it’s a whole lot easier for them to stretch their limits. After all, a little inspiration from an aspiring female astronaut can go a long way in sparking a girl’s interest.
Guest post by Leslie Earle, a Pathfinder Guider in Paradise, NL. She is a former girl member and has also volunteered with Sparks, Brownies and Guides.