Anna Herr "My journey as a mentee"
I applied to the Space4women Mentorship Program in the final year of my bachelor's degree of Physics at the University of Cambridge. Throughout my academic life, I have had a significant lack of female peers and role models. This has had a profound impact on my confidence and my belief that I could succeed in a male-dominated field. Additionally, my dream, the space industry, seemed far out of reach, and I had little to no insight into it. I was yearning for a female role model, so when I learned about the Space4Women Mentorship Program, I knew it was an opportunity I had to take. I applied, and was lucky enough to be matched with Claudia, an accomplished CEO and founder of Astronautin GmbH.
Throughout my mentorship, Claudia has given me invaluable insights. I have learned about the space industry and different possible paths. Moreover, Claudia has taught me how to navigate a male-dominated environment and guided me in challenging situations. She has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and through that given me the confidence I needed. I particularly benefitted from our “pitch yourself”- session. I struggle with talking about my achievements and practicing a three-minute elevator pitch helped with that. I immediately put it into practice during my summer research project and my learnings enabled me to get the most out of that experience.
The Space4Women mentorship program has empowered me to be more confident, speak up and present myself in a professional environment. Claudia’s mentorship has been inspiring and participating in the Space4Women program’s workshops and talks has been a true eye-opener. Everyone I have met through the program has been kind and supportive, and it has been invaluable to connect with people who share similar experiences. It gave me the keys to pursue my academic journey and go for a master's and PhD in Physics after I complete my two-month summer research project at ETH, Zürich.
It was great to see how we began to know each other better in every session, to see how confidence grew and how both of us opened up to share the challenges that we had gone through. This allowed us to form a closer bond and grow as individuals as well as a team. Even though the program is over now, we will stay in touch. Our mentorship and the Space4Women program inspired us to continue to promote gender equality and encourage women in the space sector.
Claudia Kessler: "My journey as a mentor"
I have been a mentor in many different programs during the years of my career. When I started my career, I was the only women in a male team, and it stayed like this until now! This lack of female role models in all my environment motivated me to be one for the next generation!
What brought us together was a dream - the dream of being astronauts. While we were at very different stages of achieving that dream, it brought us together immediately. In monthly calls, we went through the sessions and worked on everything from goal setting, conflict management and pitching yourself. These discussions served as the launchpad for what soon turned into an inspiring journey.
Being paired with Anna, as my mentee, has been truly inspiring. I always like to meet young, bright, energetic women and support them in learning more about themselves, becoming stronger in their self-empowerment. I see that Anna has a clear plan where she wants to go and what she wants to become, and I am sure that she will achieve this. I am proud that I was baled to accompany her a bit on her way.
I would like to encourage women and girls in the space sector to support each other, to build networks and to continue to believe in their dreams!