My Interview with “ Shawna Pandya “
Shawna Pandya, a 32-year-old neurosurgeon from Alberta in Canada, will soon become the third woman of Indian origin to fly in space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
“When I was 10, I became obsessed with astronomy,” . “All my junior high science projects or reports, they were all space related … I think the idea of doing something that’s so adventurous and really pushes the bounds of exploration.
1. a short Introduction of yourself.
My name is Dr. Shawna Pandya, and I am a physician in Canada, a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with Projects PoSSUM and PHEnOM, an aquanaut with Project Poseidon, and a public speaker. PoSSUM and PHEnOM are citizen-science projects that focus on suborbital science and developing citizen-scientists are suborbital scientists. Project Poseidon is an underwater mission that aims to break a record for the most days spent under the sea at 100 days, while furthering ocean science and exploration.
2. What are you currently working on?
In addition to the projects above, I am working on my private pilot’s license, and hold several scuba-diving certifications. I am a martial artist, practicing in Muay Thai and I hold a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo. I am involved with several other space organizations as well. I am the Life Sciences Team Lead for Astronauts4Hire, the Life Sciences Chair for the Canadian Space Society, and the curator of the LaunchPad for the International Space Development Conference. I also serve on the Board of Advisors for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space-Canada, the Board of Directors of the International Lunar Observatory Association and the Board of Directors for the Dr. Kalapana Chawla-International Space University Scholarship Fund.
3. If you had a chance to go to the MOON or MARS what would you leave behind there as a legacy for future generations to come.
I would hopefully be part of a crew that was not only intent on visiting those locations, but setting up a permanent presence there, so my legacy, ideally would be the beginnings of a future colony.
4. what challenges did you face in the process of becoming an Astronaut?
I should be clear that I am not an astronaut with NASA or the Canadian Space Agency. I am a candidate with Projects PoSSUM an PHEnOM. My biggest challenge is managing my time effectively, between practicing as a physician and maintaining my other commitments. Sometimes it gets challenging, but I find constantly checking in with my short, medium and long-term goals, and seeing what I am going to work towards each keeps me on track.
5. How can I become an Astronaut?
Pick a field that you love, ideally related to science, technology, engineering, math or exploration, work really, really hard, and aim to become the best at what you do!
6. what work did you do before applying to become an Astronaut?
I am still working as a physician in General Practice in Canada while I pursue my training with Projects PoSSUM and PHEnOM.
7. What Impact would you leave on kids of coming generations in INDIA?
I want kids to feel inspired and impassioned to work hard, become thinkers and doers, and seek to make the world a better place.
8. How will you feel after becoming an astronaut?
I try not to put too much emphasis on things that may happen, or are planned to happen, until they actually happen. Until then, I try to take things one day at a time and focus on working hard to make sure I am prepared for when it does happen!
9. How will you feel when you become the Third Indian Origin Women Astronaut to go to space?
Like the prospect of being an astronaut, this is another ‘maybe’ that will become more practical to think about once it’s happened! Until then, my job is to work really hard and to make sure I am the best possible citizen-scientist astronaut candidate I can be.
10. What do you want to say to the kids of today who want to follow their dreams?
There is so so much out there to be done and explored and discovered and fixed in this world of ours. And the one who does, explores, discovers and fixes could be you! So whatever your interest, your dream, your passion, start learning about it today. Find people who share your passion and learn and explore with them. Find people who will support your goals along the way. And when you in turn become successful, take the time to support and mentor someone else who is just getting started.