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Madeline’s shooting off to Space School

Tuesday, 4th February, 2020

UDRH’s Denise Hampton with Broken Hill High student Madeline Evans, the Australian Female Ambassador for this year’s United Space School Program. PICTURE: Callum Marshall UDRH’s Denise Hampton with Broken Hill High student Madeline Evans, the Australian Female Ambassador for this year’s United Space School Program. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Broken Hill High student Madeline Evans has been selected as the Australian Female Ambassador for this year’s United Space School Program.

The program brings together up to 50 high school students from across 25 different countries and offers them a “comprehensive, informative and educational opportunity “to experience NASA’s Johnson Space Centre” in Houston, Texas.

While there the students learn from a broad range of mentors including engineers, scientists and leaders in the aerospace industry.

The program is coordinated and funded by the Federation of International Space Education (FISE).

Female Ambassadors are usually picked from Broken Hill while Male Ambassadors usually come from Perth.

Locally, the program is open to Year 9 to 11 female students, with the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) sending over local participants.

Madeline, who had to go through an application and interview process to be selected, said she was really excited to start the two-week program which begins in July.

“There’s going to be a lot of people from other places that I’ll be meeting and the Space School program itself is really exciting,” she said.

“I get to work on a hypothetical mission to Mars, so that’s something I’ve never done before. 

“I’ve never been overseas as well.”

Madeline said she applied for the program given the educational opportunities it provided.

“I take every opportunity I can get as far as education goes and this was really exciting,” she said.

“I’m very interested in a lot of the things it offers.

“You go into five different teams and one of them is law, one of them is maths (and so on).

“There’s a few of those that I’m interested in and it’s not all to do with space. It’s like different things that you can do as part of space.”

Madeline said it wasn’t necessarily the aerospace aspect that most interested her, but the mathematical side of it.

“One of my favourite subjects in school is IST which is Information Software Technology,” she said, “so that’s a big part of it as well.

“For me it’s not totally about space, it’s about just everything to do with it.”

She said she’d also been hearing from past participants about how good it all was for them. 

“All the past participants who I’ve spoken to have said they came back with total confidence in everything afterwards,” said Madeline.

“They said it was a really incredible thing to participate in. 

“They didn’t realise how much it would change them, so I hope to get that out of it.”

UDRH’s Denise Hampton said Madeline was the 11th participant to take part in the program from Broken Hill.

“It’s a great opportunity for the females to participate in this project because they get to meet others from numerous countries, participate in the different cultures and also plan that mission to Mars, which is based around science, and putting that into practice,” Ms Hampton said.

“It’s really great to see the kids that have gone over there, the young ladies that have gone over there, come back and say how much they really loved it, and being there to mentor the next participant as well.”

She said there was also an opportunity this year for a past participant to go over and take part as a mentor.

“This time around, we have the opportunity for someone to apply to go over as a mentor and work with the teams as well,” she said.

“They do that every now and then. In this case it’s this year.

“I just sent an email to Broken Hill High School and Willyama High School. There may be someone that’s interested but that would mean they’d have to pay for their own flights etcetera, and then be under the same process as the United Space School participant in that they’ll be hosted by families over there as well.”

In the lead up to the program’s start in July, Madeline will also be holding local fundraisers such as barbecues, cake stalls and raffles to help pay her way.

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