When I was seven and in the second grade, everyone in my class had to do a project on a planet. Whether by choice or by assignment, I was charged with researching and introducing my classmates to Venus. I took my Scholastic children’s space books with me to the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas where my dad’s work demanded our family spend March break that year.
I spent the days on the beach, captivated by descriptions and artist’s impressions of the strikingly different environment on the surface of Venus. In the evenings, my parents would help me find Venus as it rose as the sun set. I was struck with the unreality of seeing the planet. I couldn’t believe this world that was like so unlike my own (I think my best analogy for the purposes of that project was that Venus was like the Earth turned inside out) was close enough that I could see it with my naked eye.
I immediately began reading more about the planets in the solar system, wanting to know more about what was out there for me to discover. Inevitably, I came across Neil Armstrong and the moon landings. I was hit with a second wave of wonder: there were people who had left our planet and walked on another body! From that point on, I started trying to find out as much as I could about manned space flight and I haven’t stopped yet.
When it came time to decide on a topic for my undergraduate honours thesis, I finally had the opportunity to turn my long-standing fascination into an academic pursuit; an approach I continued with my Master’s thesis.
Once I finished my Master’s degree, I realized that there was no clear path for me to follow. I’ve always wanted to write books and have never really wanted to teach, so I decided that there was really no logical graduate program for me. There isn’t a program out there that’s going to teach me what I want to learn about the history of space, nor is there a program that won’t penalize me for writing with a narrative.
As I writer, I am combining the researching skills I’ve honed in my 22 consecutive years as a student, the writing skills I’ve developed in academic, creative, and public relations arenas with the passion I’ve had for spaceflight since a young age. I am taking my own small steps with this blog, turning my passions into a career as a science writer.
My academic background is in the history of science – I have a Bachelor of Arts with a combined honours in History of Science and Technology and Classics (University of King’s College and Dalhousie University respectively, Halifax) and a Master of Arts in Science and Technology Studies (York University, Toronto).