Hola! Hoi! Hello! My name is Stephanie Finnvik and I am an undergraduate student from Minnesota, USA. For the summer of 2011, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to live in Leiden in the Netherlands and intern at the international office of Universe Awareness (UNAWE).
I attend Carthage College, a small private liberal-arts school located in Kenosha, Wisconsin along the shore of Lake Michigan. This fall I will be starting my fourth and final year of my bachelor’s studies in physics and Spanish. Last December I was researching options for the coming summer, whether a research position or an internship. I was hoping to find something where I could utilise both my interests of Spanish and space science.
A professor of mine suggested I see if there would be an option with UNAWE and I could have never anticipated just how much I would enjoy working with the program during my short time in Leiden.
Interning under Pedro Russo, the UNAWE International Programme Manager, and working with the UNAWE team at Leiden University, I was able to share my passion of science outreach education and gained a knowledge of the cooperation of such activities on an international level. While in Leiden, I had a variety of tasks that included working on the development of a board game for children to learn about light, writing updates for the new UNAWE website and creating ideas for developing UNAWE in the US. Overall, UNAWE is a fantastic organisation and I am very grateful for having the experience to be part of it all.
I believe that no one can deny my enthusiasm for space science and public outreach. My time in Leiden only added to my love of space and I only anticipate the future. Thanks to support from the team in Leiden, I found myself heading to Paris to intern with the International Astronautical Federation, followed by attending the International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town, South Africa in early October.
I am beyond grateful for all of the opportunities I have had over the past summer and only hope to continue to do my part with outreach efforts. A peer recently told me that he would have paid to be able to do 90% of his career and I couldn’t agree more. Thank you to UNAWE for letting me share my passion and making me part of the family.