A Father’s Influence

Mwenya’s passion for a career in space science started when she was young. She reminisces about her third grade, her father picking her up from school to watch a NASA documentary or witness a space shuttle leaving for its voyage into space. He coupled this with stories of his tour of the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Florida in the late 1970s when he went to conduct his research as a veterinary doctor in the United States.

His description of a space shuttle’s interior looked made her think he was a NASA astronaut himself. He also spoke with pride about the three Zambians he found working for the space center and their excitement upon seeing his name and realizing he was a fellow Zambian. The men asked him, “How is a 29-year-old man from Zambia interested in such a diverse field of science and technology only beginning to take centre stage in the 20th Century?”

It was there that she recalls falling in love with space science. He inspired her to dream, not to be content with so little but to reach out for something big.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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