A Nelson College for Girls pupil is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, one that explores the outer dimensions of space.
Alexia Landry has been selected to attend the prestigious International Space Camp (ISC) in Alabama, and then, just three days later, the International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada.
She was selected by the Royal Society Te Apārangi from more than 100 applicants to receive a scholarship to attend ISC.
Alexia then found out that she is the only person in New Zealand and one of just 40 people in the world to be selected for the Summer School programme.
She will join students from 34 countries from around the world.
The students will be challenged both academically and physically through extended duration missions and, if they wish, experiencing microgravity in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer.
“It’s going to be really cool, at Space Camp I’ll get to do astronaut and simulator training and then at the summer school I’ll be at the world’s top theoretical physics institutes getting actual lectures on things like quantum computing.”
Chief executive at Royal Society Te Apārangi Andrew Cleland says it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
“Not only is this a great opportunity for talented young New Zealanders to interact with experts at the top of their fields in science, but it is also an occasion for students to meet other like-minded students from around the world and to share their cultural differences.”
Alexia hopes to one day work at the same institute in Canada and says that the process of applying for the scholarships was strange.
“It’s weird writing about yourself, you don’t want to make yourself seem perfect. ”
“It’s hard to find a balance between showing your best qualities and making yourself seem real.”
In addition to her studies at school, Alexia has been an active member in a number of extra-curricular activities in her senior year.
She has founded a lunchtime current issues club, tutors younger students in mathematics and science, and volunteers at a number of community events.
She is also a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters where she is a trusting “big sister” for a young Nepalese girl now living in Nelson.
Alexia says that participating at two international programmes is an honour that will help her learn more about science.
“It will be great to be taught about scientific concepts, especially beyond what is offered in the high school curriculum.”
“July is going to be a very busy month.”