While students within FIRST programs are excitedly preparing for a space launch in 2019, FIRST Alumna Megan Gran is getting ready for a real live space launch in Norway next year! Megan is from FIRST team 4069, Lo-Ellen Robotics, from Sudbury, Ontario.
Check out how she got involved in space engineering at York’s Lassonde School of Engineering and learn about her exciting adventure in 2019.
Q1. Why did you choose to major in space?
A1. Growing up, I originally wanted to go into mechatronics engineering and robotics engineering, but when I heard about the Space Engineering program here it was everything I could have ever dream of; a diverse course schedule with aspects in programming, electronics, mechanical engineering, and payload design. There’s more than that to the course schedule of course, but those are the main aspects that attracted me to it. I’ve always had a dream of putting something into space.
Q2. What was your reaction when you heard about this year’s space theme within FIRST programs?
A2. I thought: “Finally!” I was surprised but so excited when I heard—especially since I’ve only recently started studying Space Engineering. What a perfect time for this theme to come around, I get to experience it and I have some knowledge of space now to better understand the tasks.
Q3. Why did you choose Lassonde?
A3. Lassonde is the only school that I could find in Ontario with Space Engineering. There’s Aerospace Engineering in Ontario, but from my knowledge, it mostly focuses on vehicles within the atmosphere, like airplanes, instead of objects outside of the atmosphere. I wanted to get more of a robotics or systems engineering type of degree, which is much like Space Engineering here. An added bonus is that Toronto isn’t too far from my hometown, Sudbury, so I can easily visit my family.
Q4. What is this amazing space opportunity that you’re embarking on next year? Tell us more!
A4. A few of weeks ago, I applied to the Fly A Rocket! programme hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA). This program takes 24 undergraduate students from around the world, trains them via online learning for a few months, then sends them to the Andøya Space Center in Norway for five days to work on a rocket, and launch it. There are a few different teams that work on the rocket, and I was selected to be part of the Sensor Experiments team. This programme aims to educate students in space engineering, sciences, law, operations, communication, standardization, debris, mission planning and more.
Q5. How do you feel FIRST has inspired you and prepared you for a career in the space industry?
A5. I was the Team Captain, Mechanical Lead and Electrical lead, and Robot Driver/Human Player for some time on my FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team in high school. I learned a lot about working collaboratively, creatively, working hard, and of course about mechanical and electrical systems. I feel like it helped me build confidence in myself and what I create. Working hard for six weeks non-stop, then seeing your robot move and compete on the field, and succeed—not even win the match, but just accomplish one of the goals of the task—feels amazing. This taught me to appreciate the work I do, and to see how hard work pays off.
Q6. What do you hope to be doing 5 or 10 years from now?
A6. I really want to see myself graduated university, and become a professional Space Engineer. I also want to change the world someday, either by benefiting humankind or to explore and learn more about space. It’s very intriguing that we don’t seem to know much about space, for example, dark matter.
Thank you for sharing your story, Megan! We can’t wait to hear all about the rocket launch next year.