Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti poses with two students during her visit to Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School. Photo by Geoff Lee, TCDSB

Female astronaut tells girls to reach for the stars

By  Julia Swist, Youth Speak News
  • November 13, 2015

TORONTO - Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said the best advice she can give to a girl is to find her own path and be her own inspiration.

“A lot of times when people want to give advice to girls, they assume that those girls will have the same difficulties that they had,” she said. “That’s not necessarily true, we all are individuals. We all are different and so we should all just have the courage to be an individual before you are a girl.”

On Nov. 4, students from Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School and Grade 8 students from neighbouring schools gathered in Loretto Abbey’s auditorium to meet Cristoforetti, the female astronaut who holds the record for the longest uninterrupted single space flight by a woman and a European astronaut.

Cristoforetti, from the European Space Agency (ESA), spent 199 days between November 2014 and June 2015 on board the International Space Station as the Flight Engineer for Expedition 42 and 43.

During the presentation, Cristoforetti shared her experiences on board the International Space Station, regaling the students with her mobility struggles to the experiments she conducted in the Space Station’s laboratories, even her experience getting her hair cut in space.

She told students the International Space Station is a symbol of today’s multiculturalism as the parts to build the station came from various countries around the world, including Canada’s own contribution, the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), more commonly known as Canadarm 2. She said it showed that if we all choose to work together, humanity can accomplish what was once considered impossible.

Cristoforetti had dreamed of being an astronaut since she was a young girl. She grew up in Trentino, Italy, and spent three years at an all-girls school, much like Loretto Abbey. She said it is why it was important for her to speak to the female students and encourage them to be confident in their aspirations, no matter how big they are.

“Remember that being a girl doesn’t define you, it’s just one aspect of your identity,” she said. “It’s not like there is something that applies to all girls because you are you, so don’t look for advice like that especially when you’re very young, just look at what your ambitions are, aspirations, your interests, your passions and don’t let the fact that you’re a girl define you or what advice you’re going to listen to.”

(Swist, 16, is a Grade 12 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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"Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said the best advice she can give to a girl is to find her own path and beher own inspiration."....yup be your own inspiration, find your own path...modern social engieering being taught to Catholic children...I...

"Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said the best advice she can give to a girl is to find her own path and beher own inspiration."....yup be your own inspiration, find your own path...modern social engieering being taught to Catholic children...I thought Jesus was our path and inspiration

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