Space Speaker in Your Classroom

The Space Speaker in Your Classroom program brings real Space Industry professionals to your classroom via Skype, for FREE! Your students will have a chance to learn from these experts and to engage with them. We’ve had amazing speakers over the years, including BCO’s Astronaut Patron Dan Tani.

The program for Space Week 2019 is available below. Once you have reviewed the selection, you can book speakers here:

Book a Speaker – *Primary School Slots Now Completely Booked*

Book a Speaker – Secondary School

We’ll contact you to perform a test on your Skype connection ahead of your session. Please ensure that speakers are suited to your student level (Primary/Secondary) as we will have to cancel incompatible bookings.

These talks are designed to show students how varied the paths that lead to a STEM career in Space can be, and to assure them that they too can have an amazing career in this industry.

Speakers are available to book for 30 minute online slots allowing for student Q&A time.  Please note – as these hook-ups will take place online (Via Skype) you will need a strong WiFi connection.

Speakers will be continuously added to the schedule, so please check back in a few days if you were unable to secure a speaker.

Alternatively, you may be interested in our Observatory In Your Classroom program.

Con McCarthy

Former Project Manager at the European Space Agency

Suited to: Secondary

Available: See Booking Form

Con McCarthy of the European Space Agency will talk about the various missions that he has been involved with while working with ESA over the years.
Con worked on the European Spacelab mission, on ERS-1 Earth Observation satellite, he was Systems Engineer on Huygens, (Europe’s Lander to Titan on board the U.S. Cassini Saturn orbiter), and on ESA's Mars Lander and was the communications system manager for Europe's Mars mission, Mars Express and systems engineer on the Venus Express on its mission to Venus.

Brian Shortt

Head of the Payload Technology Validation Section, Future Missions Department, Directorate of Science.

Suited to: Secondary

Available: See booking form

Dr. Brian Shortt has a background in experimental and applied physics and attained his PhD in the study of laser atom interactions from the National University of Ireland. He has worked at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on a range of fundamental and applied physics programmes including the development of miniaturised instrumentation for space flight.
Dr. Shortt has industrial experience having worked at Airbus Defence and Space as payload interface manager during the early phases of the Solar Orbiter mission. He currently leads a team of scientists and engineers who conduct laboratory testing of payload technologies in support of currently flying and future science missions.

Niamh Shaw

Scientist, Artist, Educator, Aspiring Space Explorer

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Niamh is a performer, writer & communicator with 2 degrees in engineering & a PhD in science. Passionate about igniting peoples curiosity, she explores crossovers in STEM, art & communication to share the human story of science.
Niamh has set herself a mission to get to space as an artist and citizen. She has created 3 theatre shows, 3 multimedia installations, hit a zero gravity flight, witnessed live launches & landings of astronaut crews, completed over 20 EVA hrs as analogue astronaut at simulated Mars missions, studied & lectured at ISU’s Space Studies Programme, created her first RTÉ radio series ‘Curious Humans’. She has spoken at events including WIRED Live UK, Space Rocks (ESA), NASA Johnson Space Centre, Inspirefest, New Scientist (UK), at academic & space-related conferences, schools, career events & is a regular contributor to BBC’s Sky at Night magazine since 2016. Niamh is also the current Artist in Residence for CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory.

Dan Tani

Retired NASA Astronaut

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

An American engineer and former NASA astronaut, Dan Tani can discuss human spaceflight, his experiences in Space and the future of space exploration. Tani had a 16 year career at NASA, where he flew on 2 space missions for an accumulated 132 days in space, featuring 6 space walks, including the 100th spacewalk on the International Space Station.
On his first spaceflight (2001), Dan Tani served as a Mission Specialist on the 12-day STS-108 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. On his second spaceflight (2007-2008), he served as a Flight Engineer for 4 months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a member of the Expedition 16 crew. He was delivered to the ISS as a member of the STS-120 crew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, and was returned to Earth as a member of the STS-122 crew aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Aisling Shannon

Structures Engineer at the European Space Agency

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Aisling’s role at ESA is to ensure that the spacecraft gets to where it needs to go without breaking! The launch of a spacecraft is very tough from a mechanical perspective, lots of shaking and noise and some loud bangs! These shocks and vibrations are the main drivers for the mechanical design of the spacecraft. It is my responsibility to ensure that every part of the spacecraft is going to be able to survive the launch. A lot of analyses are performed to confirm this before we ever build anything.
Primary- Aisling will talk about her experience as an engineer at ESA and she would love to for students to show her their enthusiasm about space by showing off their own space projects!
Secondary - Aisling will talk about her experience at the IAC and her role as an Engineer at ESA.

Fionnghuala O'Reilly

NASA Datanaut

Suited to: Primary and Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Fionnghuala O'Reilly is a systems engineer who obtained her degree from the George Washington University, which she has used to become a Regional Director of the NASA Space Apps Challenge and a NASA Datanaut working remotely from Dublin. Being appointed a NASA Datanaut means being accepted into a competitive program made up of engineers and scientists who engage with NASA’s open data to create innovative new thinking and products. This year, the program officially recognized her initiative, #EmpowermentThroughCoding, whose mission is to support women and girls learning to code. Through her work as a Datanaut, she has also brokered partnerships with amazing organisations like ‘Girls Who Code’ to bring behind-the-scenes science programming of NASA's most recent mission to Mars to over 80,000 women and girls in STEM. As a female engineer, she recognizes that she is a minority in her profession and has experienced why it is so important for women to break through glass ceilings. Recently, she was crowned Miss Universe Ireland 2019 and hopes to use the international platform to empower and support women in their careers so that they can stay competitive and continue to learn the skills necessary to go far.

Orla Punch

Space Architecct

Suited to: Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Orla is an architecture graduate from the University of Limerick, 2015. Her final year thesis – exploring the possibility of building on Mars – was awarded the President’s Gold Medal and a European Architectural Medal Honorary Mention for Innovation. She carried out a Master of Science with the International Space University, focused on optimising Human Performance in Space Exploration through design. She has worked as a Space Architect with the European Astronaut Centre’s Spaceship EAC team on a Lunar Analogue Facility, as part of ESA’s Moon Village concept. She is currently based in San Francisco with Foster + Partners architecture studio.

Juan Miro

Retired ESA

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Juan has worked in space programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA) for 27 years. He has recently retired from ESA but remains passionate about space and likes talking about its contributions to society. He enjoys explaining space and the underlying Physics to young students and interested public.
Juan is Spanish, has a Masters in Industrial Engineering by the Polytechnical University of Barcelona and has worked in Germany and The Netherlands. His wife Gabrielle is Irish and they spend now a lot of time in Co. Louth.

Kiera Ward

PhD in Human Physiology and Metabolism on a collaborative project with the European Space Agency

Suited to: Primary and Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Kiera Ward graduated from Athlone Institute of Technology with a BSc. (Hons) in Sports Science and is now in her final year of studying for a PhD in Human Physiology and Metabolism on a collaborative project with the European Space Agency. Kiera’s PhD project is funded by PRODEX and is focused on investigating the impact of 60 days of head-down tilt bed rest (HDT), as an analogue for spaceflight and microgravity exposure, on overall physical and metabolic health of young, healthy men. Kiera, a member of SELGRA, is specifically examining the changes in body composition and insulin sensitivity that occur following HDT and determining whether exercise training during HDT can ameliorate the decline in overall physiological health as a result of prolonged inactivity. This, in turn, will help astronauts to live and work in the weightless environment with better health, prolong the amount of time they can spend in this environment, and permit their safe return to Earth.

Aidan Cowley

Science Advisor, European Astronaut Centre

Suited to: *Fully booked*

Available: See Booking Form

Aidan works at the European Space Agency, stationed in the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne. He can talk to students about Space, Astronauts, the European Astronaut Centre, the European Space Agency and future exploration.
He trained as a Material Scientist, and did a lot of research in the area of energy systems after that. Before that, he earned a Masters in Electronic Systems and a bachelors in Computer Applications. He has a very broad range of skills from all this, as a scientist and also as an IT guy. Skills like scientific writing and programming are tools he uses nearly daily

Heidi Thiemann

PhD Astronomy Student

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Heidi is a PhD Astronomy student at Open University studying binary stars. Her research is focused in Astronomy, astrophysics, stellar formation, and evolution.
Heidi has access to and works with telescopes like Super WASP, Faulkes Telescope, ASAS-SN, South African Astronomical Observatory.

Stephen Ennis

Ground Segment Engineer at the European Space Agency's European Astronaut Center

Suited to: Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Stephen is a Ground Segment Engineer at the European Space Agency's European Astronaut Center. He works on broad range of exciting topics important to the future of human exploration across the solar system. Europe's home to astronauts is a deeply exciting place with tight connection to space agencies around the world and the International Space Station. It's a thrilling time in Human Spaceflight and Stephen is more than happy to share his passion to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Seanie Morris

Astronomer & Lecturer, DJ, and Radio Presenter

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

In addition to being a Radio Presenter and DJ for the radio station Midlands 103, Seanie is a well-known amateur astronomer and has been an astronomy lecturer for many years. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing just around the corner, Seanie will be discussing what it was really like for the astronauts on their journey to the moon. He will also go into detail about how they got there including a discussion of the Saturn V Rocket itself using his very own scale model of the rocket!

Laura Keogh

Space Lawyer

Suited to: Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Laura is a great example of the variety of careers that exist and are continuing to emerge within the space sector. She will share some wonderful stories about what it is like working in the space sector and the steps to take to get there. She’ll also explain what exactly a Space Lawyer is and why they are so important.

Eoin Tuohy

Masters Student at International Space University

Suited to: Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Eóin grew up in Kilmacanogue in Co. Wicklow. He went to school in St. Brendan's College, Bray before starting his studies in UCD doing a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Following that, he did a two year Masters in Mechanical Engineering with business. Eóin then spent some time travelling and working in Australia. During this time, he decided to pursue a career in the space sector. He is currently completing a Masters of Space Studies in the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. As part of these studies, he undertook a 6-month internship in the European Astronaut Centre with the Spaceship EAC team. He is currently working on In-Situ Resource Utilization (IRSU) with Lunar regolith simulant as well as working on Lunar dust mitigation techniques.

Ruth McAvinia

News Editor for The European Space Agency

Suited to: Primary/Secondary

Available: *Fully Booked*

Ruth comes from Drogheda and studied Drama and Irish at Trinity College Dublin before going into broadcasting. She worked as a reporter at Newstalk and RTE but developed a passion for science and science communication and re-trained at the Open University and the International Space University. She now works with ATG-Europe as a News Editor for the European Space Agency. She loves space, stormchasing, travelling and reading books. A social media addict, Ruth got to see the final space shuttle launch as a guest at the NASA Social in July 2011. In her spare time, she teaches English and humanities at the International Space University and watches a lot of television. She lives in Leiden, in the Netherlands and has also lived in France, Germany, and the UK.