A Universe of Opportunities

Aoibhín Crowley, Irelandaiobhin.jpg

Our mentorship relationship began in November 2022, when we first met virtually to share our stories and understand how the Space4Women programme can benefit us both. Márcia immediately struck me as a proactive, intelligent woman and her role over the following months became not only as a mentor, but a teacher, cheerleader, and friend. When we met, I was just beginning my career in the space industry as an intern at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. I was unsure how to move forward and Márcia helped me to identify broader goals in my career and take actionable steps towards achieving them.  

She subsequently coached me through interview processes for an internship with ESA, offered advice for my master’s thesis defense, and allowed me to orient myself in the Irish space ecosystem with confidence that I belonged there.  

Throughout the last twelve months, Márcia helped me gain access to the Legal and Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, to observe the policy process in real time. One of my worries at the beginning of the programme was that my lack of a technical degree would be a hindrance to achieving success in the space industry. With a degree in International Relations, I wanted to contribute to the development of space policy. Márcia emphasized the role of space as a diplomatic tool, and her career in space law attests to how successful she has been as an advocate for the responsible use of space and science communication in general. She has been a consistent voice of reason through difficult times in my professional journey and I consider her a huge role model of mine. 

I would recommend this programme to any young woman who needs guidance through the beginnings of her career in the space industry. Through this programme I have also met other mentees who do incredible work and are so eager to share their success with their colleagues. This community of women is incredibly supportive and have encouraged me to pursue a space career. 


Márcia Alvarenga, Head of the Department of Education and Training at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil

What can I provide to someone younger or with less experience than me to help them succeed in their space career? Is there something I can teach to make someone's path smoother, more delightful? With those questions in mind, along with lots of joy and fear, I applied to become a mentor at the Space4Women Program.  

I did not know exactly what to expect, but I had a lot of confidence in the program team, for their competence and their willingness to support us. Through the program, specially in the events Space4Women kindly offers, I experienced a universe of contact networks, knowledge and learning. But the biggest gain was undoubtedly following Aoibhín's beautiful journey. I watched her expand her horizons, delve deeper into her research, and ultimately complete her goals and objectives. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the joy of being able to share these moments.  

Aoibhín taught me to look for new tools to make work more organized and clearer, to think outside the box, to believe in your capabilities, and to make international cooperation happen in its smallest details, which includes our relationship, since we are from countries and different cultures. 

I learned that when you give, we multiply. Anyone who believes that there is nothing you can teach is mistaken. Those who believe that there is nothing that can be learned are even more mistaken. This, for me, is the key to this Program: synergy. 

I wish for Aoibhín, as well as I wish for you, reading this story, to remain firm in your purpose, listen, be empathetic, humble and invest in partnerships. The Space4Women Program is the perfect place for this practice. Outer space is a multifaceted environment, with infinite possibilities, and so is Space4Women.