5 women in space doing out of this world things

Women in space
Emily Calandrelli, science communicator

Be inspired by the incredible career paths of five women working in space.

We’re always cheering for women in STEM, and today we’re going one step further by celebrating five women in space with amazing journeys and stories to tell. Check out their  contributions to the space industry below.

Emily Calandrelli, science communicator

Emily Calandrelli, aka @thespacegal, has a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a Masters in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering and Technology, and is a former MIT engineer. Now she’s turned her passion for space and STEM into a science communication career. She shares her love of science on Netflix shows (like Emily’s Wonder Lab), broadcast television, and on social media.

Her STEM career advice? “Follow your passion and curiosity for all things science as that is the most important quality to succeed.”

Karlie Noon, astronomer

Karlie Noon, astronomer
Karlie Noon, astronomer

Karlie Noon is a Gamilaraay woman and became the first Indigenous student in NSW to get a double degree in science and maths. She later went on to study a Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU, where she researched gas accretion onto the Milky Way

Karlie is now a passionate advocate for STEM and has worked for CSIRO and the Department of the Environment and Energy.

On astronomy, Karlie says, “Indigenous people have been looking at the stars and sky for thousands of years. I’m lucky to have exposure to both knowledge systems, which I see as contrasting but complementary.”

Monique Hollick, space systems engineer

Monique Hollick
Monique Hollick, space systems engineer

As a space systems engineer for the Defence Science and Technology Group (which is part of the Australian Department of Defence), Monique Hollick and her team design daily mission plans, check the health and performance of satellites and conduct maintenance on ground stations. She is hooked on space and has always been interested in maths and physics.

If you’re wondering if STEM is for you, Monique says, “In reality, STEM fields require passion and hard work to gain proficiency more than anything.”

Professor Tara Murphy, astrophysicist

Women in space - Professor Tara Murphy
Professor Tara Murphy, astrophysicist

Astrophysics professor Tara Murphy has made some interesting discoveries in her career at the University of Sydney, like radio signals from space that were created 130-million light years away!

She also co-founded Grok Learning, which provides coding courses for high schools and universities and has helped hundreds-of-thousands of students around the world.

Tara’s top space career tip: “Modern science is a collaborative pursuit. It needs people with all different skills, from highly technical, to great communicators. So, if you’re interested in astronomy, give it a go!”

Christyl Johnson, Deputy Center Director for Technology and Research Investments

Christyl Johnson
Christyl Johnson, Deputy Center Director

After a background studying systems and electrical engineering, Christyl Johnson now heads up the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s missions of the future in astrophysics, earth science, heliophysics, and planetary science. Her exciting role is to oversee the center’s research and development, and establish a portfolio of technology investments to enable those future missions.

Her advice for future STEM pros is to look for opportunities to get hands-on experience. “They can be internships or visits to places you think you might want to work. That is the best way to find out what you like AND what you don’t like.”

Read more career stories from women in STEM over in our role models section.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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