By Elizabeth Chao

Sienna Cashion-Dextrase is an Education student who loves space! Since joining AlbertaSat in September 2019, she has been part of the educational outreach team to pass on her excitement about space and satellites to future generations. 

Going to Lacombe Composite High School for the first time was one of Sienna’s most memorable experiences of the educational outreach team so far. This was unique from her other experiences because of her amazing opportunity to work with the teacher, Steve Schultz. One of the things Sienna found eye-opening about Steve’s teaching was his dedication to encouraging students to apply their knowledge outside of class, and contribute it to their community. Steve’s teaching has even landed him the prime minister’s teaching award.

A project that Steve was working on with his students, which Sienna found particularly fascinating, was a net zero greenhouse. Through this greenhouse, the students created their own business selling herbs to restaurants and their community. Sienna saw how Steve was creating education that links back to practical uses, similar to the goal of AlbertaSat. Additionally, Sienna was invited back to Lacombe to do her practicum with the students there next winter, and can’t wait for this to happen. 

Being a part of AlbertaSat has broadened Sienna’s understanding of how she can create practical lesson plans especially with high level math and science fields. Her biggest hope is to connect with more school clubs, like the Lacombe robotics club. Through answering students questions about these STEM fields, Sienna hopes that she is able to motivate younger students for years to come. One of Sienna’s future goals for AlbertaSat is to reach out to schools of children with learning disabilities or other difficulties, who may not get these opportunities to learn science and math. She hopes to aid these students in experiencing the practical nature behind these subjects which may seem difficult at first.

Her favorite part about AlbertaSat, and what interests her most, is showing kids how they can apply what they learn in science and math to real life applications such as satellites. Sienna especially enjoys making lesson plans with interactive lessons to encourage students to be excited about what they are learning in school. This is important because, oftentimes, the education that students receive through schooling may not have the ability to show how their knowledge can be used outside of class. Sienna’s goal is to show students the usefulness of the subjects they learn. 

Aside from AlbertaSat, Sienna has a vast array of different hobbies that she likes to spend her time on. Some of these hobbies include board games, and she especially likes playing Catan. She is very passionate about reading autobiographies and memories, mainly regarding feminism, Indigenous issues, and subjects about personal tragedy to success. She loves reading about the connection of large social issues to individual lives and personal stories. Throughout 2020, her favorite read has been A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott.

Being Métis, Sienna enjoys learning the Cree language and also loves beading. She initially took a beading course with a Métis beader in November 2019, and during COVID quarantine with her free time, she started getting even more into beading. Beading has allowed her to connect with her culture, and is a relaxing stress reliever for her, specifically making flowers and rainbows.

Sienna’s advice for new AlbertaSat members is that there are plenty of opportunities to contribute to the construction of the satellite if they put the effort and time into learning new material. As long as new members are willing to take on new challenges beyond what you learn in school, they’ll be able to be a big part of the project regardless of whether they’re in first year, or even graduate studies. 

Sienna would tell her high school self to not be so worried about the future, and just to pursue what she enjoys. It was only when she entered into university that she discovered all the doorways that existed, and she hopes that new students are able to explore all opportunities that come their way.