Two years ago Hermione Aris of Kristin School heard about an amazing opportunity to go to Space Camp in the USA with Girl Guides. She had always been interested in space exploration and knew to learn more about this she needed to get on that camp and was determined to go.
"I wrote an essay on 'space debris' and went through a selection process and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the camp by Callaghan Innovation,” explained Hermione, to the AIMES Awards judges in August this year. "I raised the rest of the funds myself by doing cake bakes and sausage sizzles, $3,000, which paid for my flights and accommodation. I can truly say that I got there on my own. All my hard work paid off, at the end of the camp I was awarded the 'Right Stuff Award’ out of 500 others. This was the highest honor and most coveted award during Space Camp, given to the outstanding trainee who goes above and beyond in leadership, teamwork and technology throughout the camp."
Hermione, who really enjoys STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), was selected by Girl Guiding New Zealand to represent them along with two others – one from Christchurch and the other from Wellington – to attend the Space Camp in the USA for one week. She has since given a talk to her local guide unit about Space Camp and the opportunities for girls and also to her Year 8 peers and has recently been asked to go on The Project (TV3) to talk about girls and STEM – as one who is 'walking the talk'.
At Space Camp Hermione's position was a GNC which stands for Guidance, Navigation and Control. This position is responsible for vehicle guidance, navigation and control systems overseeing weather conditions for launch and landing sites. She did not know that this job existed until she went to Space Camp.
As well as achieving academically, Hermione is also a very fine sailor, representing New Zealand in Optimist Class Sailing. She has been on the New Zealand Girls Development Squad to Sail Sydney, being placed second in her fleet. In November she is travelling to Burma to represent New Zealand at Asian Optimist Sailing Champs and is also a member of the New Zealand Girls Development Squad going to the Australian Nationals in Hobart, Jan 2019.
At the Kristin School end of year prize giving in Year 7 she received the Holtz Family Cup Award – the award for a student who does most to reach their personal potential whilst showing consideration to others. Characteristics are determination, commitment, resilience and empathy.
Hermione details her future aspirations. "I am determined to have a career which involves STEM and I am very motivated to achieve this. I would like to be involved with Rocket Lab here in New Zealand and I would like to be a Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) Director. The funds from this AIMES Junior Excellence Award will be used to go back to Space Camp to further my understanding of space to achieve my ultimate goal by attending Advanced Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama. There I would learn about designing, building and launching a rocket safely from its payload. SCUBA diving underwater astronaut training. Engineering skills by constructing a heat shield. Flying in a jet aircraft simulator and will undertake a Mars mission simulation. I will also spend funds on extra tuition in science.”
Hermione Aris receives the Junior Excellence Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Library Lane and NZ Force Construction – including a cash grant of $3,000.
Thanks to the ongoing support of our fantastic sponsors