Honorary degree citation - Natalie Panek
By: Martin Pugh, June 2019
Monsieur le chancelier, j’ai l’honneur de vous présenter Madame Natalie Panek, ingénieure aérospatiale déterminée à viser très haut et à aider les autres à faire de même.
Ms. Panek currently develops space robotics, including instruments for the International Space Station, at Maxar Technologies (MDA) in Toronto. But her larger goal is to become an astronaut herself.
As she has said, "It's funny, people always say they meet lots of eight-year-olds who want to be astronauts, but not 30-year-olds."
Just so, Panek believes that interest in the STEM fields is inculcated in childhood. She benefitted from some inspiring role models, including a particularly cool female physics teacher. Now, she’s acting on what she considers one of the greatest responsibilities any of us has: to empower the next generation.
Through speaking engagements, volunteerism, online outreach and mentoring programs, Ms. Panek is a voice of encouragement to young women who aspire to studies and careers in STEM, much like Concordia alumna Gina Cody. Ms. Panek defines personal success as a combination of happiness from her own pursuits and feeling like she is making a difference helping others.
Monsieur le chancelier, au nom du sénat et du conseil d’administration de l’Université, j’ai le privilège et l’honneur de vous présenter Madame Natalie Panek, afin que vous lui décerniez un doctorat ès sciences honoris causa.