Not only is Natalie Panek a real-life rocket scientist—she’s also a strong advocate for women and girls in tech. Described by Canada’s Financial Post as “a vocal advocate for women in technology,” and featured on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Instagram as someone who wants to “fight outdated stereotypes about women in STEM,” it is no surprise that Natalie Panek has been on our radar. Her mission? To encourage women to embrace challenging and innovating careers that can positively shape their future. On October 27, we are welcoming the woman who is pursuing her dream of becoming an astronaut—and advocating for women around the world while she’s at it.
As a child, Natalie dreamed of becoming an astronaut and traveling to space, and she’s been working towards that goal ever since. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Calgary, where she helped design and build a solar-powered car that she then raced across North America in the North American Solar Challenge. Natalie went on to obtain her Master of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Toronto. For the past 6 years she has been working in mission systems on space robotics projects, with her main focus centered on building the chassis and locomotion system for the European space agency’s Mars rover.
In just a few short years Natalie has received countless awards, including the highly sought after Graduate of the Last Decade Award in 2013 at the University of Calgary. She’s won the Northern Lights Award Foundation 2013 Rising Star in aerospace, was named one of CBC’s 12 Young Leaders Changing Canada, and in 2015, was touted one of Forbe’s 30 under 30.
Join us on October 27 for an extraordinary opportunity to tap into the skills and drive that have helped guide Natalie to aim for the stars and accomplish her goals.