She’s no stranger to breaking down barriers.
And this Sunday, former Miss Ireland and NASA Datanaut Fionnghuala “Fig” O’Reilly will be helping the public to understand more about the space industry as the guest of honour at a free online workshop as part of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded SpaceFest at the National Space Centre in Cork.
The event will offer members of the public the rare chance to ask questions of a leading figure in Ireland’s science outreach and emerging space industry.
An engineer and regional director of NASA’s Space Apps Challenge in Washington, DC, Fig was recently invited by the European Space Agency to the European Space Research and Technology Centre.
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Located in the Netherlands, the centre is ESA’s main development and test campus for spacecraft and space technology. Fig visited as part of the Irish delegation supporting the launch of EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite. Scheduled for the end of the month, she’s looking forward to the launch as an ‘incredible and historic achievement.’
“In 2019 Fig herself made history as the first woman of colour and Black woman to represent Ireland at the international Miss Universe competition, highlighting the need for diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.)” the event organisers told us.
“She subsequently launched Space to Reach, an organisation dedicated to advancing Black and Brown women in STEM.
“On Sunday, November 19th, she’ll talk with artist Linda Curtain about the value of extending STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and the intersection of space and art.”
Their conversation will also focus on the need for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) in all aspects of STEM and the importance of companies reflecting the markets they serve.
Members of the public who register for the event at spacefest.ie will have the opportunity to ask Fionnghuala about EIRSAT-1, her STEM advocacy for women and for women of colour, and her experiences in the space industry.