To that end, Natalie regularly speaks at events on leadership, women in technology, and space exploration. In addition, she founded The Panek Room, a digital destination of resources that promises “Revolution.Inspiration.Adventure.” from science, engineering, and technology. A champion for the power of mentoring, Natalie also actively mentors girls in STEM via the University of Calgary’s Cybermentor program and the CanWIT e-mentorship program.

So what inspiring words of encouragement does Natalie have for the future women in STEM? Her battle cry goes like this, “Dive head-on into challenging careers. Do not be afraid of risk and take on leadership roles in order to revolutionize what women can accomplish in challenging fields that can influence the foundations of our generation and the next. Develop strong teamwork skills, competence, toughness, discipline, responsibility and confidence to help propel innovation and expand the realm of possibility.”

To call Natalie Panek a role model is an understatement. A Woman EVERYONE Should Know is a much more fitting and deserving title.

Space Travel: Is It Still In Natalie’s Future?

As for Natalie’s lifelong dream to actually travel to space, we asked her where that stands today. She shared, “My plan has always been that I will travel to space. Realistically this a huge endeavor to undertake, but I am of the mindset to set the bar really high and enjoy the journey regardless of the outcome. There are really high standards for astronaut selection and the space industry is changing so much right now, that the definition of an ‘astronaut’ could change drastically in the next few years.”

She concluded, “So I live my life with the perspective that exploring space is a life-long goal and I’m wise enough to set other goals and dreams here on Earth so that I remain continuously fulfilled, challenged, and happy. I love exploring opportunities for adventure and learning, hoping that all of my experiences might play a strategic role in one day traveling to another planet!”

Ontario Science Center Space Hall - Photo by Mystery Substance Media Inc.

Natalie at Ontario Science Center Space Hall. Photo Credit: Mystery Substance Media Inc.

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