A Coltness High pupil is over the moon after being selected as part of an elite group of Scottish teenagers to travel to a NASA Space Centre in the United States.
Wishaw girl Kirsty McLachlan, 17, will travel as part of the exclusive Scots group to the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, after impressing scientists, lecturers and even astronauts during a week long Space School in Glasgow earlier this year.
Straight-A student Kirsty – who dreams of one day becoming an astronaut – will fly out for the nine-day adventure on October 26.
And she just can’t wait to get going!
Kirsty told the Wishaw Press: “Around Christmas time last year my physics teacher showed our class a book about the Strathclyde University Space School and asked who would like to apply for it.
“I was very keen so applied and, along with 99 other Scottish pupils, was picked to take part.
“I loved the week we had – it was brilliant. It was all about STEM; science, technology, engineering and mechanics, and we had to do things like come up with a new way of exercising in space which we then had to present to NASA astronauts and build our own firing rockets.”
After her week at Space School, Kirsty was put through a rigorous set of interviews as assessors whittled down the 100 exceptional young engineers to a final 10.
Needless to say, Kirsty was on cloud nine after being selected.
“I’ve always liked science and physics at school but space is always something I’ve really been interested in,” she said.
“I do my own star-gazing but the clouds here make it a bit difficult, so I spend a lot of time looking at and reading things on the NASA website, which itself is brilliant as it’s always updated so you can find out what is happening.
“On the trip we’re going to the Johnson Space Centre which I can’t wait for. We’re getting VIP access to see all the cool off-limits areas.
“We’re also going to an airshow to see loads of different planes, will be given lectures and are visiting the George Observatory.”
The dream excursion will be a valuable experience for the sixth-year pupil. Her ambition is to work for a space agency like NASA.
She said: “I’m looking to do either mechanical or chemical engineering at university with the hope of becoming a rocket scientist and working with a space agency. It will take a while to get there but it would be pretty cool in the end! I would love to become an astronaut!”
The Scottish Space School is a five-day residential programme which gives pupils an insight into the career and educational opportunities available through studying science, engineering and technology.
Gordon McVie, outreach coordinator at Strathclyde, said: “We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of this year’s Space School intake. Among them will be the engineers of the future, and each and every one has a very bright future ahead of them.
“The 10 pupils selected to go to Houston will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talk to the astronauts and engineers and get a rare glimpse of the Johnson Space Centre, the Challenger Centre and George Observatory.”