Kids ready to reach for the stars
RETIRED astronaut Marsha Ivins has spent a total of 55 days in space over the course of five missions for NASA.
Now she's in Ipswich inspiring students with her amazing story of life in space.
Ms Ivins visited the students at Ipswich Girls Grammar School last week to speak to the girls about her 37 years at NASA and where studying science can lead.
"We want girls to see that the sky's the limit," IGGS deputy principal Rhonda Nolan said.
"It's about broadening their horizons."
The astronaut, who retired in 2010, also spoke to more than 500 primary school students from across the region at USQ Springfield for the Space and Sustainability Conference on Thursday.
"Nothing on earth can compare to being in space," Ms Ivins said.
"I enjoy talking to children about what we do when we go into space, how we built the space station, how to live in space and what it looks like from space.
"I hope I have given them an idea that studying science and technology can lead to something exciting in the future."
Now in its fifth year, the conference teaches students about their impact on the environment, both local and globally, and inspires them to take on the challenge of creating a sustainable future.
USQ Professor Marie Kavanagh said the university was privileged to have an excellent line-up of keynote speakers for the event.
"The idea of this conference was to have young people listen to these inspirational speakers and encourage them to study science, technology and maths," she said.
"To help them find something they're interested in and develop aspirations for further education and in the end aspire to be the best they can be."
Ms Ivins said that even if one student decided to take up a science subject as a result of her talks, the trip from the United States would be worth it.
"When you put your mind to doing something, anything is possible," she said.