1. What is your name?
2. Where do you work and what is your role/job title?
European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne. Trainee at Spaceship EAC.
3. What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?
The major one was deciding to take a year to complete a Masters degree with the International Space University. Following that would be deciding to study Engineering in college.
4. Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
A couple of people: my lecturer, Prof. Volker Daman; Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day; and a number of other influential people who inspired me to pursue a career in space.
5. Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes, very much so. In fact, there are many social clubs and events organised through work that allow me to pursue hobbies that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Questions about your current Job
6. How did you go about getting your current job?
I applied to the intern position at Spaceship EAC through my University.
7. Describe a typical day.
There are few days that are similar, but common elements of my work include conducting experiments, reading journal papers, going to talks from experts, and meetings with other interns and full time staff. It changes so much that it is always interesting!
8. What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
My main tasks include conducting research and experiments on certain topics to help further enhance our knowledge on how to live on the Moon.
9. What are the main challenges?
Coming up against problems that have not been encountered before. Sometimes it takes a long while to get around.
10. What’s cool?
The building itself is very cool with a lot of fascinating astronaut training equipment about. Also seeing Astronauts on a daily basis is something that I’m still getting used to.
11. What’s not so cool?
The weather, it got up to 40 deg C this summer!
12. What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
A broad knowledge of Space disciplines really gives me a good understanding of how different projects relate to one another and what other challenges a project could face.
Questions about education and training
13. What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
My choices for Leaving Cert were: biology, chemistry, history, and French. The biology and chemistry helped when it came to my engineering but history and French were great as they gave me a wider perspective and opened my possibilities.
14. What is your education to date?
BSC Mechanical Engineering, UCD
ME Mechanical Engineering with Business, UCD
MSS Masters of Space Studies, International Space University, France
15. What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
Developing the skills to quickly take on a new topic and research that topic. Much of the work I do, I have never done before so being able to reapply the skills I have learned in college is really useful.
16. Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
Yes, there are training courses offered all the time any they are at the highest level. It is great to be given the opportunity.
Questions about yourself
17. What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
Achieving my two Masters were big moments for me and also being told that I had got my current position.
18. What personal qualities do you have that help you in your career?
I feel that I am very approachable. It really helps a team integrate when they can openly talk to one another. As well as this, I often self-reflect on my mistakes and what I could have done differently which helps me learn for the future.
19. What is your dream job?
I have to say it really is great where I am now. When there are public tours of your work place, you know it’s a good place to be.
Advice for people thinking of this job as a career choice
20. What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask about what they do. Showing interest and that you have done more that makes you stand out is a big bonus.
21. What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Being able to work with people from different nationalities and cultures, be ambitious, and be inquisitive.
22. What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Having some experience in an engineering role helped my but also just having done some research in University can help a lot.