Department of Engineering / News / Cambridge lecturer moves one step closer to becoming Canada’s next astronaut

Department of Engineering

Cambridge lecturer moves one step closer to becoming Canada’s next astronaut

Cambridge lecturer moves one step closer to becoming Canada’s next astronaut

Dr Jenni Sidey has made it through to the final rounds of assessments in the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) Astronaut Recruitment Campaign.

The 17 finalists in this competition are doctors, engineers, pilots and scientists. They have the power to fire up the imaginations of our young people and influence the next generation of space scientists and innovators.

Minister Bains

Originally from Calgary, Dr Sidey, Lecturer in Internal Combustion Engines in the Energy Group, was announced as one of 17 finalists by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The news was announced on Monday (24 April) at a press conference which was broadcast around the world via Facebook Live. The CSA hopes to have selected two qualified astronauts from the finalists by the summer.

“I want to become an astronaut because it provides an incredible challenge,” said Dr Sidey.

“It aligns with my interests in the advancement and application of science for the benefit of society. It will also provide me with a platform from which I may inspire a diverse group of young people to pursue their interests in science and engineering subjects.”

Dr Sidey, who is involved in several outreach activities, is one of the Department’s ambassadors for Women in Engineering. She helped form Cambridge Robogals in 2014, an international, not-for-profit, student-run organisation that aims to increase female participation in STEM. It does this through fun and educational initiatives aimed at girls in primary and secondary school. Her research interests are in the study of combustion with a focus on gas turbine technologies.

Minister Bains said: “Space has the power to inspire and I can think of no better sources of inspiration for young Canadians, than the enormously gifted men and women who make up the cohort of astronaut candidates that our country has to draw from.

“Every one of them is a high achiever in their own right. The 17 finalists in this competition come from all walks of life. They are doctors, engineers, pilots and scientists. They have the power to fire up the imaginations of our young people and influence the next generation of space scientists and innovators."

The Astronaut Recruitment Campaign comes as Canada prepares to participate with space agencies from around the world in future deep-space missions.

The CSA, with partners from the Canadian Department of National Defence, designed a series of assessments to evaluate each of the candidate’s critical, analytical and creative thinking skills. Each candidate is also assessed for their fitness level, resilience and ability to work in extreme conditions as part of a team.

When the campaign was launched last summer, it attracted more than 3,772 applicants from a wide variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds.

Read the CSA’s full profile on Dr Sidey.

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