On Monday of this week, we were exceptionally excited to welcome Dr Suzi Imber to speak to and work with our students as well as announce the winner of our Chalk Hills astronaut competition.
Dr Imber is an Assistant Professor of Space Science at the University of Leicester and winner of BBC 2's "Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?" programme which aired last year.
Last week a dozen short-listed students took on a series of tasks mimicking those Suzi was asked to complete on the show. This included physical challenges such as extended periods of treading water and bleep-tests; mental tests, memorizing and repeating number sequences and Russian instructions and skill tests. In the final stage on Monday, the three students who had performed best were interviewed by Suzi to find the eventual winner. Suzi was keen to make it known that all three students interviewed performed extremely well but a huge congratulations must go to Mehsum Sohail who stood out as the Chalk Hills Academy "Most Likely to be an Astronaut!"
For the rest of the morning, Suzi explained her background including scientific and sporting achievements and academic work. She was able to provide some sage advice to students about meeting challenges and developing a broad skill base to succeed in multiple disciplines. Students were also able to try out drone flying, team-work construction and spatial awareness exercises with googles which inverted their vision.
We would like to extend a huge amount of thanks to Suzi for granting us her time and we very much hope that we can repeat and build on these experiences in future.