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Jennifer Sidey

Dr. Jennifer Anne MacKinnon Sidey is a common name in recent media. Born on August 3rd, 1988 in Calgary, Alberta, the young mechanical engineer and combustion scientist is one of Canada’s two new astronauts.

Dr. Sidey obtained her Honours bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at McGill University in Montreal in 2011. She remained at the University of McGill to research flame propagation in microgravity in collaboration with the National Research Council Flight Research Laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). She later moved to Cambridge University in the UK in order to complete a Ph.D. in engineering with a focus in combustion.

At Cambridge, Dr. Sidey worked as an assistant professor in internal combustion engines in the Department of Engineering where she conducted research on flames and how to stop them from emitting harmful pollutants. More specifically, she worked on the development of low-emission combustors for gas turbines. She also taught a class in the Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery Division for undergraduate and graduate students, teaching topics ranging from conventional and alternative energy production to introductory thermodynamics and flame physics.

Dr. Sidey also acts as a role model for young women, encouraging them to pursue careers in science-related fields. One of her largest accomplishments in this regard is being the co-founder of the Cambridge chapter of Robogals, which is a student-run international organization that endeavours to empower and inspire young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics by giving them the chance to take part in fun and educational activities. With this program, she has taught over 3,000 girls across the United Kingdom programming. Due to her achievements in the outreach programs, and her many technical successes in the academic career, Dr. Sidey received the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award and a RAEng Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2016.

Dr. Sidey is currently best known for being one of the CSA’s newest recruits. As of July 2017, she has relocated to Houston, Texas in order to undertake the two-year Astronaut Candidate Training Program at the Johnson Space Center. She is now a member of the 2017 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut class. During her time in the course, she will be taught many things, including, but not limited to, scientific and technical briefings, instruction in the International Space Station systems, simulated extravehicular activities, robotics, flight training, Russian language courses, sea and wilderness training and physiological training in order to prepare her for future missions. We look forward to seeing where Dr. Sidey’s adventures take her next.


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Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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