Member Spotlight – Ashley Hansen

Ashley Hansen is a 4th year education student studying secondary education. Yes you read that right, she is an education student working with AlbertaSat. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that you don’t need to be specifically in engineering or a B.Sc to be a part of AlbertaSat. Ashley has become a big part of AlbertaSat and brought something truly unique to the group.

Ashley joined in her 2nd year of education when Ruth Ferrari (Ex-Alta 1 Admin Lead) kindly forced/urged her to become her sidekick. She was unsure at first but soon realized that she fit right in. Her and Ruth were the ones who started up our wonderful Educational Outreach Program. Although Ruth did have a strong influence in her joining, ultimately joining was Ashley’s decision and she knew that it would bring her along of benefits. Joining has brought her a lot of practical experience and has forced her out of her comfort zone to learn more about something she didn’t know much about. It was overall a great way to challenge herself and try something different.

Ashley started out just coming to the work sessions and helping wherever she could. Eventually she found herself becoming the team lead for the Ed Outreach team last year and later on, the Public Relations Co-Lead as well. Throughout Ashley’s accomplishments, she is most proud of how far Ed Outreach has gone. It has branched out to schools all around Edmonton and has really helped spread the word about AlbertaSat. The program really started out as nothing, her and Ruth made three different sessions and organized the whole thing. So far AlbertaSat has been to about 20 schools, some more than once, and she coordinated it all on her own.

“I’m really proud of the fact that I’ll be finishing my degree in 4 years and throughout that time I still managed to maintain a social life, travel and accomplish my goals. I don’t think that is attainable for a lot of people, and I’m impressed and thankful that I’ve been able to do that.”

This certainly is something that Ashley should be proud of, her organization and ability to get things done is clearly exemplified through her work in AlbertaSat.

Ashley and Ruth, with the help of an advisor of AlbertaSat, are hoping to get a paper published relating to the benefits of programs such as AlbertaSat’s being showcased in classroom. The paper will touch on AlbertaSat’s program and they are hoping to make a kit for teachers to make the program more accessible. These programs offer an insight to the kids that they would otherwise not have access to. It can easily strike up a new passion in a young child and the benefits of this are enormous, not only in the classroom but also towards their future careers.

Ashley graduates in April of this year and once she is done she hopes to spend August in Berlin. She is hoping to take a course there on comic books. She heard about the opportunity from one of her favorite profs and was instantly intrigued as she’s never been to Berlin and is hoping to learn more about the topic. Ashley believes that teaching graphic novels is a great tool to help make reading more fun and acceptable. Quite often, people enjoy comic books rather than novels, so Ashley wants to be able to incorporate a love for comic books into her future classrooms in order to encourage reading of any kind.

AlbertaSat has been a great part of Ashley’s university experience and she really enjoys the team bonding. Everyone is hilarious and it is always a good time. Her favorite part of her role at AlbertaSat is going to the schools to present.

“It is so fun to see the kids getting inspired and it’s also a bonus ego boost. I’ve had kids interrupt me during my presentation just to let me know that I have pretty hair.”

Ashley would choose to launch 1000 1U cubesats because she’s practical and teaches children that the purpose of a cubesat is that it is smaller. Plus, it would otherwise be unmanageable. However, with 1000 1U cubesats, everyone could work together and could get everyone helping. Regarding Ex-Alta 1, Ashley loves explaining the magnetometer, she doesn’t have much technical training but she loves seeing everyone’s interest in it. They are always intrigued and think it’s really cool and she does too. She also likes that the group makes things accessible, the full design is so complicated but the model is there to help her explain to the kids what everything is and as a whole that helps make things seem more grounded and easier to understand. Ashley is looking forward to the Ex-Alta 2’s element of benefiting Alberta. This project will bring AlbertaSat to another level as it will be becoming even more local and will help people here in our province.

Ashley greatly exemplifies the way that those studying fields outside of engineering and physics can easily get involved and make a big impact through their work in AlbertaSat.

Author: Casia McLeod

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