Member Spotlight – Hannah Parry

By Monica Figueroa and Javier Humberto Arana Zelaya

Hannah Parry is in the first year of her masters at the University of Alberta. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics, and she’s currently researching space plasma physics with Dr. Ian Mann. Before her undergraduate degree, Hannah practiced rhythmic gymnastics and competed as a member of team Canada. Aside from University, Hannah enjoys the outdoors, and still considers sports a central part of her life. Hannah was motivated to pursue a degree in science because of her fascination with space and her physics high school teacher who inspired her to choose astrophysics as her specialization. 

Hannah loves collaborating with people who are like-minded and share her passion for science. She is inspired by the people she meets at the university, and finds a lot of value in collaborating with peers on projects. Hannah’s biggest accomplishment during her undergraduate degree was participating in the CaNoRock program, a student trip to the arctic circle in Norway, where she launched a sounding rocket with fellow students from across Canada and Norway. Hannah is honoured to have been chosen for that opportunity, with that experience motivating her to pursue a career in space science.

Hannah’s favourite classes during her undergrad were Physics 499, Astronomy 429, and Astronomy 465, where she learned about upper atmosphere and plasma physics and stellar astrophysics and how to apply this knowledge to conduct her own research project. 

A greyscale picutre of the Northern Lights. Hannah’s research on ionospheric physics at the University of Alberta started during the 4th year of her undergraduate degree, when she started working with Dr. Ian Mann. Hannah researched the ionospheric Aflvén resonator and its relationship to weather events such as lighting. Now her focus is on space weather and its impact on the electrical grid. She was drawn to this type of research because she can see the impact of her work and how it affects human life. Hannah enjoys working with Dr. Ian Mann because he is encouraging, helpful, and extremely passionate about his work. 

In 2019, Hannah joined AlbertaSat when Ex-alta 2 was at its beginning stages. Hannah joined because of her love for science, more specifically anything related with physics and space. Hannah thought it was a logical step to get hands-on experience and integrate her skills into a space science project. Additionally, a friend of Hannah’s was the previous science team lead and encouraged her to join the team. Hannah’s role in the early stages of Albertasat and Ex-alta 2 was focused on wildfire science and figuring out what an imaging mission requires. For instance, she did research on how to use an imager, and what indices to use to view forest regrowth. Currently, she investigates how to analyze the data the team will gather once Ex-alta 2 is launched. Her role models within Albertsat were two project managers for Ex-alta 2: Katelyn and Callie. Hannah looked up to them for taking on leadership roles within the group and admired the work they did in AlbertaSat. 

The advice Hannah gives to new members of Albertasat is to push communication between teams, and to not be afraid to ask questions. Hannah says AlbertaSat is also a good place to meet new people, that it is a platform to make friends, as there are students from diverse backgrounds. 

Hannah Parry doesn’t know exactly where her journey will take her; however, she is interested in continuing her research on space weather impacts on human infrastructure, working at the University of Alberta as an assistant researcher, or doing research in a satellite development company. Hannah wants to encourage students to make opportunities for themselves and to not stay in their comfort zones, as well as develop good communication skills. Ultimately, little accomplishments mean a lot, and it’s okay to doubt yourself. 

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