The Blueprint interviews Natalie Panek, Rocket Scientist and Explorer #WomenInSTEM

An interview with Natalie Panek Rocket Scientist and Explorer The Blueprint

We’ve blogged about Natalie Panek for Ada Lovelace Day before- she’s doing great things in her field and is a great advocate for women in STEM fields. The Blueprint recently interviewed her and she had some realy interesting and poignant thoughts to share. Head over to The Blueprint to read the full interview.

Natalie Panek is a Mission Systems Engineer at MDA and an aspiring astronaut. She’s currently on a mission to inspire more women to get into the STEM fields. We sat down with Natalie to discuss mentorship, space debris and women in STEM.

What’s your story?

I am going to be an astronaut. I have had this long-term goal of traveling to space for a while now, with an awareness that the odds of actually getting to go are pretty small. So in the meantime, I have tried to build a skillset that might help me strategically venture beyond earth. If I don’t ever get to space, I will still have had really cool, amazing adventures and experiences that I can draw on and encourage others to dream big and work outside their comfort zones.

What are some of those experiences that will help you become an astronaut?

Everything from learning to fly a plane, to building and driving a solar-powered car across North America, to my love of the outdoors and the wilderness, and now working at a company that builds space robots.

What is your role at MDA?

I do a lot of systems and operations engineering at MDA’s Robotics and Automation Division, which built the Canadarm, Canadarm2, and Dextre robots. That means I do upfront concept development, mission planning and then creating requirements that the design adheres to when we’re building robotic products for customers. I also model robots in their workspace using 3D software to make sure that, in advance of doing something in an extreme environment, (i.e. space), the engineers and scientists know exactly where the robotic arm can go, where it needs to move to, what camera views operators need, or what structures the robot could potentially collide with. You do not want collisions when millions of dollars’ worth of hardware are launched into outer space.

Read more.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 35,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — Chip inventories rise as demand falls

Wearables — Go insane with a membrane (button or keypad)

Electronics — Shift away from basic arithmetic

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: CircuitPython 8.0 RC 1 Out, Board Guides, and Much More! #CircuitPython #Python @ThePSF @micropython @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Cat Doorbell, Deep Algae Bloom Detector, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week 1/31/23 Feather RP2040 Scorpio NeoPXL8 Driver @adafruit @johnedgarpark

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.