Australia is building its space industry virtually from scratch. We need to train up thousands of space professionals to meet the Australian Space Agency’s goal of creating 20,000 new jobs in space by 2030. We cannot do this if we don’t attract and retain both men and women in the space industry better than we do today. This is made particularly difficult by the barriers placed before girls and women at all levels in education and in the workforce in STEM industries such as space.

We’re bringing in an all-star all-women panel of scientists, executives, engineers, and educators who are working or have worked in space and other STEM industries to discuss this challenge.

We’re kicking off with a talk by Christine Fuller on her space robotics work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We’ll then begin Q&A with our panel, including Christine. Joining our panel are Shannon McConnell and Rachel Zimmerman Brachman also from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Our panel is rounded off by Debra Brice, (Marine Science Educator, San Marcos Unified School District) and Aude Vignelles (Executive Director Program, Capability at the Australian Space Agency). Our panel is moderated by Emily Rozanc, Student Ambassador at One Giant Leap Australia and upcoming leader in the space industry.

Join us and be a part of the discussion!


Christine Fuller – Fmr Robotics Design Engineer, NASA JPL & Product Design Engineer, Amazon Lab126

Christine Fuller is a mechanical engineer specialising in robotics and mechatronics. During five years at JPL she tested gecko adhesive grippers on the zero-g flight, a rock climbing robot in lava tubes, and an underwater robot beneath the sea-ice in Alaska. Now she is working at Amazon’s Lab126 on emerging technologies.

Mechanical engineering is everywhere and it’s amazing! I’ll share my experiences from education, to field testing in Alaska, to injection molding factories in China and answer your questions.


Aude Vignelles – Executive Director (Program and Capability), Australian Space Agency

Aude Vignelles is the Executive Director, Program and Capability, of the Australian Space Agency. As part of the senior executive team, Aude leads and is responsible for maintaining awareness of the state of the art for the Australian space industry, supporting strategic priority setting and delivering on domestic and international activities. Prior to this role, Aude was the Executive National Manager, Satellite & Fixed Wireless Operations at nbn. Previously, Aude held senior and executive roles within Foxtel, Austar, Telstra, and Technicolor.

Aude is a space and aeronautics engineer (graduating from ENSICA, Toulouse) who started her career at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. Her 25 years of experience in delivering large and complex programs embrace the introduction of new technology in the telecommunication, space and media industries. Aude has been living in Australia for the past 18 years and has contributed to the Australian space capability through White Papers, events at conferences with the growing start up community in Australia, and promotion for Women in Space and Engineering at universities.

Shannon McConnell – Deep Space Network Public Engagement Manager, NASA JPL

Shannon has been introducing students to the excitement of space exploration since 1998. She has led the Galileo Outreach Team, the Cassini Formal Education Team, and the Deep Space Network Education and Public Outreach Office. Before her work in outreach and education, Shannon worked mission planning and design for the Cassini Spacecraft, Sequence design and execution for the Galileo Mission, and Data Analysis for the Magellan Mission. Shannon also spent 1993-1994 working payload operations for 2 Space Shuttle Flights managed by JPL.

Shannon holds bachelors and master’s degrees in Astronomy and Environmental Engineering from the University of Southern California as well as being a Committee Chair for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Her professional affiliations include membership in the National Association of Interpretation, National Science Teachers Association, and National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics. Shannon is also a current member of the Board of Trustees for Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rosemead, California.

Debra Brice – Marine Science Educator, San Marcos Unified School District

Debra Brice has been a Marine Science educator for more than 25 years. She has taught primary through university level classes in STEM sciences in San Diego, California, Alaska and Mexico. She currently instructs 229 students in physics, chemistry, atmospheric and marine science. She has worked with NASA, NOAA (National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration), National Science Foundation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other national science research institutions. She has won awards for science education including Shell Outstanding Science Educator, AMGEN Science Educator, San Diego Teacher of the Year, Toyota Tapestry and Maritime Alliance Marine Educator. With a bachelor’s in biology, a masters in Geophysics and a teaching credential, along with experience working as an environmental scientist before becoming an educator, she brings real world science experience and passion into her teaching.

Mrs. Brice has worked with the San Diego Science Alliance, a non‐ profit consortium of leaders from business, K‐12 education, higher education, and scientific institutions committed to enhancing science literacy in K‐12 education with innovative programs and resources. She wrote and directed a STEM program for the San Diego Natural History Museum and has been working with the Office of Naval Research and Scripps Institution of Oceanography on a STEM program in Marine Science for the last decade. She is on the Board of the San Diego Science Educators Association, a professional association dedicated to improving and promoting science education as affiliates of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). She has conducted programs and presentations at national and international Science conferences in STEM Education and Science Collaboration between students and researchers.

Rachel Zimmerman Brachman – Outreach Lead for Radioisotope Power Systems, NASA JPL

Rachel Zimmerman Brachman has worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on various Education and Public Outreach projects since 2003. She was a senior outreach specialist for the Cassini mission to Saturn for over a decade and ran NASA’s international Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest for middle and high school students from 2006-2017. Currently she is the outreach lead for Radioisotope Power Systems (the power technology that enables NASA’s spacecraft to explore the outer planets in our solar system) as well as JPL’s project manager for Project PANOPTES, a project in which members of the public build backyard telescopes to observe transiting exoplanets. Rachel has also worked on Education and Public Outreach for two NASA Astrobiology Institutes: The Astrobiology of Icy Worlds project and the Titan as a Prebiotic Chemical System project.

Born in Canada, Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and a Master of Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Prior to joining JPL, Rachel worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Canadian Space Agency, The Planetary Society, and the California Institute of Technology. She has received international recognition for her innovations in the field of assistive technology for people with disabilities. She is a founding member of the Space Generation Forum, and co-founder of the Women in Science Club at Brandeis University and the Association for the Development of Aerospace Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She has been a member of the Women Inventors Networking Society and is currently a member of the National Science Teachers Association. She is past president and current conference chair of Science Education for Students with Disabilities.


Emily Rozanc – Student Ambassador, One Giant Leap Australia

Emily Rozanc is 17 years old and attends St Mark’s Catholic College in Stanhope Gardens. Thanks to the One Giant Leap Foundation Australia (OGL) and the US Embassy, she had the opportunity to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in both October 2017 and 2018. These trips have given her a glimpse into her future and the possibilities in the growing world of STEM as an engineer and leader through her student ambassadorship. In her final year of high school, she strives to maintain a healthy balance between school and personal life. Alongside her interests in STEM, she enjoys listening to music and playing tennis. Emily plans to extend her scientific knowledge in attending the Harry Messel International Science School in July of this year. She looks forward to studying engineering at university in 2020.

Date And Time
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm AEST


Level 20 World Square
680 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Many thanks to One Giant Leap Australia for organising speakers for this event as part of their Space, STEM and Your Future event series. And many thanks to Freelancer for offering to host this event.