By Alisa Loboda and Nehal Sekhon

Makenna Kuzyk is a 2nd year mechanical co-op student and has been a part of AlbertaSat for approximately one year. She is a determined individual with a powerful vision: to join the Canadian Space Agency and become an astronaut. It is this incredible goal that has fueled her success within AlbertaSat as well as outside of it.

Makenna has dreamed of being an astronaut since her youth. She recalls looking at the stars with her father, seeing the International Space Station and knowing even then that she wanted to be on it some day. According to Makenna, there is still so much that humanity does not not know, which is precisely what makes space exploration exciting to her. Back on Earth, Makenna is part of the mechanical team at AlbertaSat, where her role is focused on designing, testing, and manufacturing the structural components of the satellite. 

While working with AlbertaSat, Makenna has gained valuable skills such as self-directed learning, critical thinking, designing in computer aided design (CAD), and working within a team. Joining AlbertaSat did come with its initial challenges, but Makenna took those as an opportunity to improve. Through her experiences, she quickly learned the importance of being open to criticism and new ideas, which can only lead to personal growth. Perseverance is also a crucial ingredient to Makenna’s success. It allows her to stick to a problem and see it to its conclusion, all the while learning from her mistakes. AlbertaSat allowed Makenna to learn how to visualize and adapt quickly to unexpected situations; outside of the controlled classroom environment, there is no limit to the number of variables she must consider when designing anything, from space vents to complicated circuits. 

Makenna joined AlbertaSat during the pandemic and was able to successfully adapt to the challenges presented by it. Even though all meetings were held virtually, Makenna still created meaningful connections and memories with the team. Her favourite part about AlbertaSat is the people and the opportunities for personal and professional growth. AlbertaSat has opened many doors for her, providing the necessary tools and opportunities for her to secure a co-op term with Forward Robotics.

Makenna enjoys the culture at AlbertaSat and her strong vision for the future helps her to stay motivated. A large part of Makenna’s success is due to her passion and strong desire to pursue a career within the space industry. To stay motivated and manage her tasks at AlbertaSat and outside life, Makenna uses an extensive planner for each hour of her life. It allows her to keep focused and accomplish all her tasks.

Outside of AlbertaSat, Makenna enjoys going on adventures. Recently, she indulged her spontaneous side through cliff jumping and a 50km bike ride to Waterloo. Sports are an integral part of Makenna’s life; she grew up playing basketball and has recently started jiu jitsu. Once COVID restrictions lift, Makenna hopes to compete. She also plans to keep her adventure streak going with a visit to Toronto and bungee jumping. 

To new members, Makenna strongly recommends taking risks. She states that even if you may not feel qualified enough, everything is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you’re truly passionate about. She emphasizes that young people are often pressured to figure themselves out as early as possible. In reality, young people have their entire lives ahead of them. Instead of worrying, they should use this precious time to try new things and reach for the stars!