Hannah Isabella Celis Garcia is one of 52 young people invited to attend four-day event and hear from members of the Canadian Space Agency.
She’s over the moon and can’t wait to see the stars!
Hannah Isabella Celis Garcia has gazed skyward ever since she visited Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in elementary school and has shone curiosity on her home planet in hopes of learning more about what Earth’s future holds.
The Port Coquitlam teen is set to expand on her interests this summer, announced as one of 52 youths across the country selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to join its Junior Astronaut Camp.
Taking place virtually to meet health and safety restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Celis Garcia will endure four days of online activities with Canada’s top engineers, scientists and, of course, astronauts to get a sense of what a career in the field entails.
According to the CSA, she lists her top three jobs — in the long-term — as an engineer, drafter or architect, all of whom she believes could help pursue an ambition she’s held onto in recent years.
“One of my biggest dreams is for Earth to recover its balance. Where there will not be any more pollution, famine, or global warming,” Celis Garcia explains.
“If this were to happen on Earth, I would discover each animal. Look at their design and purpose in life. To help them live in unity with us humans!”
With a heavy focus on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — the Junior Astronaut Camp is set to take participants through various scenarios and learn much-needed skills astronauts use every day.
This includes operating a real rover during a simulated Moon mission, solving Earth problems using satellite imagery and working out with astronauts and space fitness experts, the CSA says.
The great part about the program is that youths attending don’t necessarily have to be all-in on space exploration — though some interest is expected — as Celis Garcia lists her hobbies of swimming, drawing, baking and learning new languages.
When the camp was introduced by the federal government in 2019, the purpose was to inspire collective imagination.
“[…] and driven us to develop new scientific research and innovative technologies. To maintain Canada’s position as a leading spacefaring nation, we need a steady pipeline of talent,” says Canada’s Innovation, Science and Technology Minister François-Philippe Champagne in a statement.
“The Junior Astronaut Camp will inspire and empower the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts – and encourage them to consider all the opportunities offered in space exploration and STEM careers.”
For Celis Garcia, who’s currently a Grade Nine student with the EBUS distributed learning program, it’s all about gaining once-in-a-lifetime experience that stretches beyond the confines of the universe.
“I would go to a planet called 55 Cancri e,” she said when asked where she’d go if she had the opportunity to explore one place in our solar system.
“When I was in Grade Four, I remember going to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and them telling me about this planet. I would really like to find out more about this planet!”
The CSA Junior Astronaut Camp is slated for July 26 to 30.
Celis Garcia is also one of six British Columbia youths accepted to the program, one of 18 across western Canada and one of 27 girls.
For more information about the camp, you can visit its page on the Government of Canada’s website.
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