"During my time as a Mars One astronaut candidate, I took part in the GREEN Program’s Iceland Edition, which is where my confidence really skyrocketed. "
What’s your story?
I initially grew up on farms about an hour south of Adelaide, South Australia, where my mother trained race horses and my father bred beef cattle. I always loved being on the land and having so much free space around you (compared to the hustle and bustle of city life). Throughout my junior schooling I wasn’t the most academic student; I was definitely more into sports, which culminated in becoming the Captain of Rowing and Vice-Captain of Rugby in my senior year. I also went on to represent South Australia in U21 rowing, which was the highlight of my sporting career.
After high school my focus shifted from sports to engineering, which is where I found the most enjoyment. The opportunity to learn all about the physical world was a prospect that I relished and I haven’t looked back since. In 2013, I applied to be an astronaut candidate for the Mars One mission to create a permanent human settlement on Mars. And I had some success, advancing through the first two selection rounds to become one of the final 660 participants (out of the 200,000+ initial applicants). This experience opened my eyes to the challenges facing human spaceflight today as well as all of the advances needed in technology in order to achieve this goal. My time as a Mars One applicant was also a great opportunity to grow my public speaking and public engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) as I was constantly asked to do interviews for newspapers, local radio shows and national television shows.
During my time as a Mars One astronaut candidate, I took part in the GREEN Program’s Iceland Edition, which is where my confidence really skyrocketed. Traveling to Iceland was my first ‘big’ solo travel opportunity and it was an amazing experience. The systems and processes that I learned, the people that I met and the experiences that we shared are some of my fondest memories and I have definitely made friends for life from my time at GREEN.
Since my time at GREEN, I have been studying hard to complete my Bachelor of Engineering at the University of South Australia. I was also lucky enough to be accepted into the International Space University’s (ISU) Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program, which is a 5 week international, intercultural & interdisciplinary intensive course aimed at expanding knowledge of all things space to a group of professionals and students. This was another amazing opportunity to engage and immerse myself in a great learning environment and meet many amazing and talented individuals while learning lifelong skills and expanding my knowledge about all facets of space beyond what I could have ever imagined. Since my time at ISU, I have gone back to studying hard for my BEng, and have also joined the local AYAA (Australian Youth Aerospace Association, which is the Australian ‘youth’ side of the AIAA – American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), becoming the University representative for UniSA (University of South Australia).
Why do you believe that you are the next-generation pioneer of your industry?
I believe that I will be able to be the next-generation pioneer on the aerospace industry as I have the ability to come up with new ideas and novel approaches to challenges that the ‘older’ generation thought to be impossible. By coming into the industry from a younger perspective, I will have less pre-conceived notions about the way things need to be done, and therefore able to come up with new methodologies, technology, systems and ideas to overcome these challenges.
"The GREEN Program played one of the most pivotal roles in my lifetime when it came to improving my overall confidence in myself (both physically and mentally) and helped shape the person I am today."
What is the biggest take-away from your GREEN program experience?
The biggest take away from the GREEN Program was the friendships formed and the incredible memories made while being in the astounding environment of Iceland with some amazing people.
Tell us about your Capstone Project experience and initiative.
My groups’ capstone project was ‘Offshore Geothermal Energy Production’. This was a great excuse to learn all that I could about the ocean floor as well as the means of energy production in extreme environments. I took a lot of knowledge away from this project in regards to the current and future resources of naturally occurring energy production as well as the processes involved with the conversion of natural occurrences into clean energy.
What does #onlyontheGREENprogram mean to you?
#onlyontheGREENprogram is a way of expressing the unbelievable experiences that can be had on the program. There’s no way that I would have experienced all the things that I did in Iceland with an amazing group of people, had it not been for the GREEN Program. The GREEN Program is unlike anything else in the world (that I have found) and the opportunity to be apart of it is something that I will take with me forever.
When is it okay to break the rules?
It is ok when you know what you are doing is the right thing. Or when it is to break the status quo.
You’re hosting an intimate dinner party. Select 3 figures you would invite
Buzz Aldrin, Elon Musk and Bill Nye