Sentinel2go was not my first social event but for sure was the bigger and the one with more participants of all. It was wonderful to meet again people I already met at the previous ones as much as to meet new friends. As Joe would say #spaceunite! and this time there were actually people from all over the world, people of different ages, of different cultures, with different minds all united to follow a gold box sent into space by a flamed rocket
This is particular marvelous for me as I am one of the older “sentinerds” present at the event, you have to know that when I was a child, I had a dream: to become an astronaut, an astronomer, or a physic scientist or...
But I was a female countryside child in the seventies, when the high school were different for boys and girls and there was still a lot of prejudices of what "female" were able or not to do.
When it was time to choose the University course I would like to study I went to the Engineering faculty open day and the president of the school asked to the girls in the room (just me and another one on 200) to stand up. He advised us not to enroll that course because we had never been able to pass his exam, as we were women and women cannot be engineers.
I found the same attitude also in the course I actually chose (Chemistry) and this all finished with me leaving the University without a degree, also because I was waiting for my baby and in the 80's in my country it still was enough to stop every career.
Years went by, I found a job not science or space related at all, but I still looked up in the sky, I was always obsessed by space, planes and everything that it is capable to fly.
The internet was at its beginning, there was nothing like a "social media" but it becoming easier to find information, NASA and other scientific organizations started their first web sites, forums, blogs, and suddenly everything I always dreamt to know was available, just with few "clicks" on my computer.
Then came the social media, not only was possible to read info but to interact with people actually working in space and science!!
Long story short in 2011 I participate to ESA Mars500 tweetup and I met other fans of space and science, someone of them was working in space companies and I started thinking that maybe to work in the space industry was not as impossible as I thought ... maybe it could be possible for me too…
I thought that it worth a try, so I started my evil plan to conquer a space job, first, I needed to finish my study, as I really needed at least a bachelor. Instead of re-start my chemistry one, I chose to get an engineering degree (none said me anything about be a woman this time!) and I was able to get it in less than 3 years, while I was working full time to pay for it.
Besides looking for an actual job I think that just be involved in something like the social events is more than I thought possible... I mean last Monday I was seated near one of the principal scientist of Sentinel 2, he was actually speaking to me about his job, showing me the latest pictures taken by the satellite and explaining the meaning of what was in the picture… To me! Isa from the countryside, Isa who should not be able to be an engineer, who should not be able to understand science stuff because she is a woman…
Ok I have been exaggerating a little bit but these were basically my thoughts in that moment, the same thoughts that I had while I was talking to SpaceOps or others technicians, while I walked into the controls rooms and asked questions, while I took pictures of screens and consoles.
I had told to a bunch of space nerds in the hotel hall that morning that the social event could have changed their life, I said so cause that is what happened to me, it push me to try to change my life to get what I actually want instead of keeping what I already have.
My message for all space nerds out there is to “dare to say yes”, never think to be inadequate or too old, or too young, or not smart enough to try to get what you dream.
Do not fear what other people can think of you but keep doing whatever you feel right for you no matter if society think you should not, it’s your life, it’s you dream.
“Never give up, never surrender”