Transcript: Space4U podcast, Laura Forczyk

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

Hello, I am Colleen Kiernan with the Space Foundation and you’re listening to the Space4U podcast. Space4U is designed to tell the stories of the amazing people who make today’s space exploration possible. Today we are joined by Laura Forczyk. Laura is the owner of the space consulting firm Astralytical, specializing in space science industry, and policy and offering space, career coaching services.


Laura is a NASA subject matter expert for planetary science missions and serves on the advisory boards for the lifeboat foundation and the society of women in space exploration. In addition, she serves as a mentor for the Brook Owens fellowship program. She has researched astrophysics and planetary science at three NASA centers flown to parabolic zero G campaigns.


Conducted geologic research in a meteor crater and earned national aerospace training and research suborbital, astronaut wings in ground training. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Astrophysics from Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Science and Astrophysics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville researching high energy emission from gamma ray bursts.


She conducted doctoral studies in planetary science at the University of central Florida. Researching low energy impacts on the Moon, Mars and asteroids. And she is also the author of rise of the space age, millennials. Thank you so much for joining us today, Laura. Thanks for having me on. Absolutely. So, as we just heard in your bio, you’ve had an impressive career in the aerospace industry.


Did you always have an interest in space and the STEM fields? Yes. For, um, pretty much as long as I can remember. I know that I wrote a short story when I was in third grade about. Visiting the Moon. I must’ve read a book about Apollo and I remember talking about it, my short story going and visiting the Moon and what I would bring with me.


And, um, I know my parents got me a telescope when I was young. I don’t remember when, but I do remember taking that. It was a really simple telescope and, and taking it out into the front and back yards of our house outside of Philadelphia. And. Staring at the Moon and whatever else I could capture Mars.


And I wasn’t very good enough to be able to really do good astronomy, but, um, yeah, it was enough for a child. And then my parents also, they were very supportive. They sent me to space camp in Huntsville, Alabama. So, um, I went twice as a middle school student and twice as a high school student and then twice as an adult during, uh, uh, NASA internship program.


So yeah, for as long as I can remember, I’ve really been into space. That’s really exciting to go to space camp all that many times. I’m sure that was a highlight of your childhood. Oh, it is amazing. I remember the first time I went, I was in middle school. I was seventh grade and it was time to leave. And I remember crying in the Huntsville airport because they didn’t want to leave.


I just felt like I’d found my place. I’d found my people. That’s so awesome. So it sounds like, I mean, you, you go back probably about to third grade, I think you said, um, is that your earliest memory of being fascinated with space? Or do you remember anything younger to stargazing? Anything like that? I don’t remember, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my interest started earlier.


Parents were always into Spotify and I remember watching a lot of Star Trek with them as a kid, especially Next Generation and Voyager. And by middle school, the X-Files was my favorite TV show and I just always loved science fiction. And that was something that my parents really encouraged within me because we all enjoyed it as family.


That’s really great. I have to ask, since you said there was a lot of star Trek, um, would you say you’re more of a Trekkie or, um, Star Wars? Um, I am. I remember, um, as a kid also watching a lot of Star Wars and, um, other types of science fiction as well. And of course science fiction, short stories was a favorite of mine as well in elementary school, but yeah, star Trek has always had a special place in my heart.


I am a Trekkie. Very cool. So what would you say is your favorite thing about space? Oh, my gosh. That’s a hard question to answer. There’s just so much I could go off for hours to talk to you about how much I love space. Um, but I think what currently, like what really captures me currently is the fact that maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but.


Someday, we will be United as one planet in space. And I know that’s a very idealistic point of view and of course there’s always going to be politics and, you know, conflicts and we’re all human right. Human racism going to change. But I just love the aspect of space bringing us together as a globe. And that’s seen right now in terms of connectivity.


Um, so the, the various satellites that have been growing over the decades, bring us together through communications and broadcasting and GPS and other navigation satellites, and all of these things that bring us closer together. And then more recently, you’ve got a lot of earth observation, satellite data that’s now more publicly available.


So previously had been more, been more of a military defense. Uh, asset and now it’s, it’s grown tremendously to almost every industry you can think of. A lot of it is not you, things you think of that you say, you know, like agriculture and, and logging and shipping and all of these, you know, even bank transactions, like all these things that use the satellites that we take for granted every day.


But it all brings us closer together because it allows you and I to have this conversation from across several United States. Ah, ha and I talked to some students at, um, ISU in France earlier today. So it’s just these kinds of connections bring us together in ways that we wouldn’t have previously. Um, and then when you’re thinking about maybe in a few years, a decade out and how suborbital space, tourism and transportation will change the way that we travel from country to country and location to location and how that will bring us closer together, as well as the availability of people being able to fly in space in unprecedented numbers.


So we’ve had something like. 560, some odd, maybe it’s a little more now people flying in space throughout the, throughout the decades that we’ve been flying, but that’s that number is going to grow so much in the next several decades.


And can you imagine that dozens upon thousands of people getting the experience of being able to fly in space and see our globe as one globe without borders like that, that’s just going to be able to change the mindset of humanity in a way that we’ve never seen before. Absolutely. And, you know, I think that presents probably one of my favorite things about space too.


And if nothing else, it’s the way that it connects us with the fascination, you know, we’ve all had that moment of, Oh, look at the Moon tonight, or, Oh, look how bright that star is. There’s just something that it is universal that fascination. And it’s always such a great thing to think about how it unites us all together.


And that goes back to the very beginnings of humanity. Right? We can all look up at the stars and probably the ancient civilizations more than now. Be able to look at the stars like the Moon navigate by the stars. Um, they had a much closer relationship. It’s more astrology than astronomy, but, um, yeah, the stars have been inspiring us forever.


And I know as a kid, the Moon was always my globe. It was my org. I I’ve always felt a special affinity towards the Moon. And it’s one thing that I think that is shared. Anywhere universally. Now we mentioned that you recently wrote this book called rise of the space, age millennials. And in the book you interviewed 100 millennials.


Um, what was it like actually conducting those hundred interviews? Yeah, that was a challenge because it’s never done anything like this before. I’m a physical scientist, not a social scientist, and I’d never considered writing a book until the idea came to me about three and a half years ago. And it was, it was, uh, an undertaking that I didn’t know exactly how to.


Do it properly, but I’m, I kind of felt my way through. So first I just simply talked to the millennials that I knew who were working in space, who were studying in universities to work in space. And I, myself am an older millennial. Um, and so I just reached out to all the millennials that I knew, and I got a lot of rejections, but I also got a lot of acceptances people who were willing to speak with me and answering my questions and for each person.


Okay. I asked for recommendations that way I could get people who I weren’t directly contacted with. It started out being a lot of people I was connected with on social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, and especially LinkedIn, because I could get a better idea of when they graduated to try to guess what their age was.


And, um, once that I got those recommendations though. I got more and more people who weren’t necessarily on social media. Weren’t so much on the internet and also being in the geographic United States of America. I had a bias there, whereas I was able to branch out a little bit more into South America and Europe, and I wish I had gone and done a more thorough search of people who were able to answer my questions in other countries.


But unfortunately that was my bias being in the United States. States, but I just wrote up a survey of questions that I thought would provoke interesting answers. And I sent the same questions to each person, but I left a lot of wiggle room in the questions, a lot of ambiguities so that people could answer it in the ways that they wanted to.


Also, I allowed people to skip questions or modify questions depending on, um, how comfortable they were depending on. And, and some people, you know, responded with their real names and some people asked to be anonymous. So I have some synonyms in there and just got a lot of really good responses, a lot of things that I didn’t expect, which was fantastic.


Cause when you’re writing questions, you have a bias towards your own thinking, but when you get the responses back, I was quite surprised at the diversity of responses that. But I got, and the, the perceptions that I got, that’s really interesting. And I know one of the things that you asked them was what the millennials thought the future holds.


Um, what do you think the future holds for space flight? Hi. Yes. So this was one of my favorite questions and it’s the last chapter of my book. And it’s the favorite chapter of my book. And at the end, I talk about how I don’t have a crystal ball. Nobody, nobody can really predict the future, but we can sort of guess based on both what we’ve accomplished so far in the past few decades and, and where we personally.


They believe that the space sector should go. And so for a lot of people, Mars was the ultimate goal, sending people to Mars. And a lot of people wanted to send people back to the Moon and onto Mars. So that’s the current, um, Artemis trajectory. NASA is Artemis program, sending astronauts back to the Moon and then on some ours.


And a lot of people really were inspired by that. Um, Artemis didn’t actually exist when I was doing it. Bring this interview, these interviews like similar programs have existed in the past with constellation and, and other initiatives and that kind of mindset of, okay, well, when he was born during the Apollo generation, we did not see humans on the Moon.


That’s not something that is real to us necessarily. We only know about it through history and, and so being able to really see, not just. A select few of very elite white men, but I diversity of the human population of view, multiple different, um, backgrounds and cultures and genders and, and, you know, I real diversity of people being able to, to not only step foot on the Moon for short period of time, but hopefully be able to settle there.


So that was inspiring to millennials. And that’s something that is really realistic within our lifetimes, you know, whether it’s realistic by 2024, I’d probably not. But within our lifetimes, yes, yes. I think we’ll get there. And whether that’s NASA or a collection of international partners or commercial industry, or all three, who knows, but we’ll see.


And then Mars, Mars really captivate. Millennials. And I think it captivates a lot of us, um, regardless of age and even the general public seems, uh, was really inspired by the red planet. We’ve never been there. It’s a world somewhat similar to our own, and that it’s about the same size and it hasn’t been.


A small atmosphere, um, relatively the same gravity, just a little bit less. Um, so we, we can actually relate to it in a way that we may not be able to relate to any other planetary body in our solar system. And so that is a place that is brand new. We’ve never been that really inspires millennials and most millennials that I interviewed hope that within our lifetimes we’ll be able to send humans to Mars.


Um, other things that inspired millennials, they want to see, they can find intelligent life out there, whether in our solar system or elsewhere, and maybe not even intelligent life, maybe just, you know, any life, any life forms at all. Biosignatures of any kind, regardless of their technological shares or signs of intelligence.


But, um, especially within our solar system, hopefully within our lifetimes, we’ll be able to explore some of the really. Interesting moons around Jupiter and Saturn that might hold biological life of some form. And then hopefully as we get more advanced telescopes and observatories, we can really start to probe the atmospheres of exoplanets, which we’re already starting to do.


Now it’s the science is in its infancy and I think a lot of millennials. I think that within their lifetimes we’ll be able to detect some kind of life outside of earth. Those were the big ones. And then each person had their own take on it. Some people thought that, you know, we we’d get space tourism, um, space, uh, you know, mass space tourism.


So, um, maybe point to point transportation across the globe on a mask. Scale or, uh, private space stations or, um, deep space exploration with humans. You know, each person had their own predictions and, and it’s hard for me to tell you which one’s going to come true. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean a hundred people, I’m sure you got a hundred different opinions and some may be similar, like you said, but I’m sure they were all different.


Yeah. I love the diversity and some people were more skeptical than others. Some people really had an idealistic pie in the sky scenario of how things will be. And some people I imagine. One person said something like, well, I haven’t seen evidence that we’re going to do much. And so I don’t think they’re going to get very far.


And so, you know, those kinds of, you know, cynicism, cynical results, um, are, are valid. Each person. His opinion is valid because no one truly knows what we’re going to do in the future. What were some of the other questions that you asked? I started off asking what inspires millennials and this question was actually a late sort of addition.


I had asked them what excites them, but. Last year with all of the Apollo 50th anniversary, celebrations of landing humans on the Moon. I got to thinking how millennials, although we I’m sure a large part of us were inspired and are still inspired by the Moon landings. Again, we weren’t alive when that happened.


So the Moon landings, they Willie. A segment of the population that is older, but our millennials really inspired by that. And it turns out that for the, for the most part, no, that wasn’t the main inspiration. That wasn’t the main thing that excites them. The topics that really excite millennials. And this is the longest chapter of the book.


So you can imagine how many different things people talked about that excite them, but overarching theme, I mean, People really inspired still by NASA and what NASA is able to accomplish both on space shuttle and international space station with human space flight, as well as the probes that we send to Mars and, you know, Cassini to Saturn and new horizons to Pluto all these, these robotic missions that NASA sends out.


But for the most part, the vast majority of millennials were inspired by the commercial space industry, um, commonly called new space. Although that term is ambiguous and space X is the nuts. Number one companies cited by millennials that I interviewed space X, blue origin, Virgin galactic. They were all sources of inspiration for millennials.


To really get involved in space or believe that they can be involved in space. You know, in some cases it was outside of the United States. People didn’t know, um, how they could get involved, just because there’s maybe not so much of a, a space agency way they’re based, or there’s not much of a space culture, um, not many opportunities.


And they really see the growing commercial space industry as a means of producing global opportunities for people who aren’t necessarily based where there’s a large government agency. Um, another thing would be like the interdisciplinary nature of space. So it’s not just aerospace engineers, it’s a wide variety and almost pretty much any discipline you can think of is needed in space.


So I interviewed, you know, science, communicators, and educators, and all kinds of people from different walks of life, not just the typical stereotypical engineer, you know, but of course, a lot of engineers were interviewed by people really saw that as a means of opening up space. To a vast majority of the population, because you do see more applications to space with the commercial space industry, not just, you know, space X on the launch industry, but also small SATs cubes.


That’s, you know, these means of less expensive, but frequent space operations and accessibility really inspired millennials. So that was something that took the longest chapter in my book. It was just. Explaining what inspires money and wants to get into space. And I really appreciate that you did talk to people who weren’t just the engineer types.


Uh, you know, I’m a communicator. So I do. You know, PR and social media type things. And every once in a while, I get to 10 events with our education team and you get the kids who are really excited and Oh, you work in space and they say, well, what do you do? And at first I was a little hesitant to tell them, well, I do social media, but it’s exciting for the kids who maybe don’t Excel as much in science or technology that there’s other.


Avenues out there to be involved. And I always think that’s so important because it’s not just the astronauts, it’s not just the engineers. You have the artists who have to do the concepts of what is the spacecraft going to look like. And, you know, there’s so many more people involved. So I think it’s really wonderful that you included lots of different types of people in there to get those different perspectives.


Yeah, absolutely. That’s actually a really big theme of mine is that space is for everyone. And whenever I talk to students now, um, I feel like I may be contradicting what the teachers have told them a little bit, because I feel like for some teachers there’s a hierarchy of subjects where science and engineering STEM is at the top and then everything else is below it.


But in fact that shouldn’t be the case at all. I’m a scientist. So I happen to love science, but I understand and appreciate that we need all the disciplines. You know, lawyers, my parents are both lawyers and we need space lawyer. They, they don’t do space law, but I know so many people who do and the policy and the diplomacy and, um, all these different aspects of humanity.


I absolutely love the idea of sending artists around the Moon with the Deere Moon project, for example, you know, just capturing. The diversity of humanity out there and making sure that we’re all included. And you know, of course, initially it was just the engineers and then Apollo towards the end of the program, got up a scientist.


So it started to branch out a little bit who knows how much it would have branched out if Apollo or some other similar program had continued. And, but I think that. Where we are now is the culture we’re ready to really be more inclusive of the types of people that we send up and, um, welcoming of the different types of talents that we have.


Absolutely. And, um, you know, your book just sounds like you’ve got so many great questions and there’s a lot of thought behind it. Um, was there an inspirational moment or a spark that, you know, told you, cause you mentioned, you know, you never thought you’d write a book. What was kind of the catalyst to say, you know what, I’m going to write this book and I’m going to talk to these millennials about.


The space age. Yeah. The funny thing is that I’m a trained scientist and so I really approached it scientifically at first, the idea popped into my head and I posted a tweet just onto Twitter and I got feedback. I got positive feedback. So I’m like, okay, if people are interested, I’m going to go ahead and pursue this.


Cause somebody should write this. And, and what frustrated me was that millennials were getting all kinds of negative stereotypes in the media. So it was a lot of millennials are killing this industry and millennials are entitled and will. Millennials are selfish and millennials, this and that. And it was just, it wasn’t true to my experience.


So I’m like somebody needs to write a book of contradicting all of these negative stereotypes that I hear that that don’t seem real. And nobody, no, I have not found a single person who wrote any kind of book about any kind of demographic in space. And so this is really a unique book of its kind, as far as I can tell where, you know, even just millennials.


There are lots of books about any of those, but millennials within a certain industry, this is a newer concept. And so I just wanted to get the stories out there. So I, I started it really scientifically minded, right? I started getting data. I started looking at statistics. I started reporting on, you know, this many millennials do this and compared to the overall population and the overall workforce demographics.


And I realized that scientific communication as useful as it is, is not how you write a book. So I actually deleted that whole first draft. Um, I went back to the voices of the interviewees and I really focused on their voices and telling their stories. And that’s what really captivates people is me making sure that, um, the stories that are told the human aspect, the human side of it.


And so, um, I just really wanted to tell. Well, the stories of the people who took the time to answer my questions and, and really be true to their voices. And the funny thing is that, okay. I, I, I never thought I’d write a book book, but then I wrote a book and now I have an idea. I have two ideas for two more books.


So all of a sudden I’m finding myself like lining up book ideas here. Um, hopefully we’ll get the second book started this year. I still have to record the audio book for my first book. But after that, I’m going to. We will unleash my creativity on this second book and see what I can do. Awesome. Do you have any, a sneak peek for our listeners of what that second book might be about?


Sure. So I’m going to be interviewing astronauts about their experiences in space, but not the common ones that you hear about. You know, everyone knows about, you know, getting sick and space and, and the overview effect. And, and I’ll talk a little bit about that, but I’m really writing this. Tourists in the future, who especially, there’ll be mostly suborbital, really quick trips, and they may not know what to expect.


You know, they may know the really common things, but what are some of those surprises that astronauts have come across that nobody taught, told them about? Or maybe they just didn’t expect it. Um, you know, those kinds of really non unspoken and it might be a lot of psychology in there too. I don’t know. I haven’t asked any astronauts.


Directly yet. So I’m not going to pre guess what they’re going to say, but I think that’d be really valuable to get some perspectives that aren’t usually told for the people that will hopefully start flying in the next few years, myself included. I want to fly before I die. So hopefully the prices will come down enough that spaceflight will become more accessible to most of humanity.


And whether that happens, you know, in the next decade or in the next century, I don’t know. But. As more and more people start flying, they’re going to want to know what to expect. And right now we just have the experiences of a few ass shots and maybe some of them can shine some light on some things that aren’t usually talked about.


That’s really great. And that actually kind of leads me into my next question because you’re, you know, going to be preparing, you know, these next people to, to fly. And I know I’ve had different thoughts before. Well, would I go, would I not? Um, I think weightlessness would be really cool to experience, but I don’t know.


It all sounds pretty scary to me to be honest, but it would be nice to get some of those other perspectives. So in a way, you’re going to be kind of coaching these next phase, tourists, these next space travelers. And, um, I know you do a lot of coaching with students. Um, preparing them to actually enter the space industry.


What is the biggest piece of advice you can provide someone who wants to get into this industry? Don’t be. Afraid to go after what you want, I think is the biggest piece of ice that at least I wish I would have been told when I was a student. A lot of the times students are raised with a hierarchical mindset of you have to do what you’re told by authority members.


You have to wait for permission. And when in reality, the universe award rewards. Uh, proactive and enthusiastic behaviors. So if you are truly interested in something, don’t wait for someone to give you permission. Just go ahead and do it. Go ahead and learn it on your own or take initiative to start something.


I think that’s the biggest piece of advice that I wish that I had gotten because I, I would’ve probably. Started earlier in my studies with, you know, just branching out. A lot of students don’t know what’s available. And I think that now is a better time to really be able to research the different opportunities out there.


So you’re not stuck in the mindset of, I have to follow this linear path when in fact, most people’s careers are not linear. They’re very zig-zaggy and all these opportunities that you might not be aware of and your professors might not be aware of, but they’re active. They’re out there. And if you just research or keep reading, listening to podcasts like this one, um, you’ll get a better idea of what’s out there and then don’t be afraid to contact people.


You know, I, I help people guide them how to properly contact professionals. But a lot of times, if you really write your messaging well and contact the right people, they’re happy to talk to you for a short while about what they do and the opportunities to get involved. Um, another thing is that you do not have to.


Follow the standard path. You know, I was saying before, it doesn’t have to necessarily be aerospace engineering. If you want to go your own way, go ahead and try that because this is your life and only, you know, what’s best for you. And a lot of times I felt like I was pushed in a direction that wasn’t right for me.


And I had to push back and really find my own path. And, and it’s only really now in my own business. That I’m able to create that correct path for me. Um, and, and a lot of people are really stuck. They feel like they’re on a good path and, but they’re not quite where they want to be. And just making sure that you course correct along the way, if you are.


On a path, whether or not you’re in the space industry, maybe you’re trying to figure out a way to get to work in space, or maybe you’re already working in space, but you’re not quite there yet. You don’t have to follow what your boss has done or what your mentor has done or what some professor tells you that you need to do.


You need to follow the path that’s right for you and try something maybe a little bit off the beaten path. And there are risks there, but that’s okay. Definitely. And, you know, but you said the exact, I don’t, I don’t know if I’ve met a single person who has decided I want this job, so they do that school and then the next school, and then they actually get that job because something almost always inevitably happens to, to maybe throw you off course.


And it’s usually, I think for the better, because you find the other interest or something else that you Excel at. So I think that’s huge, you know, It’s not a straight line. Very rarely. I don’t think I know anyone who’s had a straight line. Yeah, exactly. And even better is some opportunities don’t exist earlier.


And so sometimes a new company pops up or a new industry or new opportunity pops up and you couldn’t plan for that because. Didn’t exist. And so just making sure that not only are you educating yourself about what’s out there, that you’re continuously educating yourself so that you can jump on new opportunities as they happen, as they are created, or maybe you create a new opportunity yourself.


Maybe you start your own company or you own, um, revolution technology to change the industry or whatever the case may be. Absolutely. I mean, when you and I were in high school podcast were not a thing, you know, FaceBook, wasn’t quite a thing yet. There’s so many. Industries. And there’s so many aspects of life today, though.


It’s normal that we didn’t have 15, 20 years ago. So it just, I completely agree with you just keeping your mind open sometimes to new ideas and prospects that you never know what they’re going to think up in the next 20 years at all. Exactly. And the only way you can go wrong is to give up and that’s okay if you temporarily give up, but if you completely give up on your dream of working in your space, then, then you’re done.


But if you keep on pushing out it, if you keep on looking for the places where you can get involved, then that really, really take you somewhere who knows where it’ll take you. And I think that’s part of the adventure is finding out what’s around the corner, because I mean, I run my own business and I don’t know what clients are going to contact me.


I don’t know what projects I’m going to get. Often this year and it’s part of the fun it’s it’s part of the excitement of a growing industry is to not even know what’s around the corner. Most definitely. Now, w you did a, you have a various blog posts that you’ve done over the years. And we found one from a couple of years ago that is entitled the long uncertain path influencing in the space community.


And in the blog post, you talk about uncertainty, rejection and disregard, especially when you were going through school. How have these past experiences influenced the way you approach current and even some of your future endeavors? Yeah, that was a challenging blog posts for me to write. And I actually got a lot of feedback that I didn’t expect that how honest it was.


Um, I don’t know. I just was putting my words out there and, um, it stems back to the fact that for so long, I’ve battled with impossible. Esther syndrome. And for those of you don’t know what that is, that’s when you feel like you are fraud, surrounded by successful people and that the successful people are going to find out you’re a fraud and you’re faking it.


And I’ve felt that for a long time, um, as a student, not so much high school, but once I got into the university setting, um, you know, I I’ve always. Struggled with grades and never been the greatest student. I’ve never been a bad student, but I’ve also never been a straight a student. And so just especially in a field like physics, when you’re trying to grasp, it’s really difficult concepts.


And it seems like some of the other students, some of your other classmates are just instantly getting it. They already know it. They are the teacher’s pet, you know, No, whatever it is, they, they get the best research spots when it gets to, you know, upperclassmen, at least in my experience, they had awesome research.


And I, I was pretty proud of the research that I was doing too, but it just seems like no matter what I did, I was always trying to prove myself every step of the way. I always felt like I was reaching out. And in some cases, succeeding in getting something new. Opportunity, but in most cases getting ignored or rejected.


And I never quite knew whether that was due to the fact that I was me and I was doing something wrong or I was coming across wrong. Or the fact that I’m a woman or the fact that I was young or whatever the case may be. I never knew. Um, so I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing throughout the years.


Um, uh, and. It eventually got to the point where suddenly I’m running my own company and I’m in my mid, mid career. And that’s when I really started to realize, Hey, I don’t necessarily need to keep proving myself that first year I adapt. Definitely did. Because that first year I was trying to prove that I could run my own company.


I could have a successful company. And that first year was really tough. But after that first year of running my own company, my company’s a little over four years old now, I actually felt like. I was actually doing a pretty good job. I was actually really good at my job. I was actually looked upon as a role model for some people, and that surprised me the most was students looking up to me because I was always the one who was looking up to others.


I was always the one trying to prove to people more successful than me that I was worthy. And now I had people who were students or young professionals. National is looking up to me and I’m like, wow, how, how did that change? So that’s a lot of what that blog post was inspired by. Was that transition from being the one who was always striving to prove myself and always feeling like I was getting rejected, but moving forward anyway, to being the one where now I’m.


I’m in a position where I can really start to mentor younger students and professionals and, um, be that kind of inspiration for other people that I always saw in others and never in myself. And it’s a different type of mindset. So now I have to. Understand that I’ve got some kind of limited power where I can really influence the way that others think and see themselves.


And I’m going to use that power for good, as much as possible. I’m going to bring people up. I’m going to uplift people and I am in a special, um, you know, Oh weeks, but that’s not the right. I have a special love for, for uplifting, um, women and other minorities that just. But they don’t see themselves in space historically, or they’re already having to deal with sexual harassment or sexism bias or all these things that are out there still to this day, and it’s frustrating on so many levels and I’m going to do the best that I can, which is why I’m so involved in and love the Brooke Owens fellowship.


I love the fact that this organization exists. I think it’s in its fourth year now. Um, and I joined it last year as a mentor, and I absolutely adore the, the mission of the program to uplift, um, women and gender minorities in the aerospace sector.


And I try to continuously do that with every interaction that I have with students and young professionals. That’s so fantastic and so wonderful, um, for you, because I know when I read. That blog post. I mean, there was definitely a little bit that kind of hit home for me as well. And it’s, I think so powerful to be able to overcome the things, to share them and then become that inspiration.


So I just think that’s, um, fantastic. And it’s so great. You’re doing all these wonderful things to coach students and, you know, to help these young women and minorities to get into a space where, you know, you look at the Apollo and. There is no one that looks like you or me who went to the Moon. Um, but we all know that that’s going to be changing.


And so I really commend you on that. I think that’s wonderful. Yeah. And my hats off to NASA for the Artemis program, I’m not completely happy with the wording that they use, but I love the fact that they are trying to be more inclusive of women and they still have some issues with their Asteron application and being inclusive there.


But that’s where I think the commercial space industry can come in and, and really, um, You know, fill those holes that you, okay. NASA has a certain, uh, certain, uh, image for their astronauts to maybe with commercial space. It can be a more broadly associated image of what humanity truly is and what humans represent.


Absolutely. Uh, well, we spent a good amount of time today talking about, um, your book rise to the space, age, millennials. Um, can you tell our listeners, where can they get your book? Absolutely it’s available on Amazon, Amazon for keep your back and eBook. It’s also available on Barnes and Nobles website on eBook.


They have a different eBook version. And if you go to my website,, you can find autographed copies that I will send you within the United States of America, at least. Um, so I’m very happy also to reach out if anyone wants to contact me about a specific aspect of my book, I’ll just start to freak.


You know, I’m happy to give you any insights that I have. I already wrote up. I gave a talk two weeks ago before. Cause cancellations of conferences. I was at a conference and gave a talk about, um, selling space light to millennials, you know, how companies might want to market themselves. Um, so I have that freely available on the astrological blog and then on my more private blog, which not private, but my personal blog.


Um, I also have several different, um, takes on the book as well. Um, based on, you know, millennials wanting to go to Mars and millennials, you know, these different aspects based on the book research that I’ve done. Awesome. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation and I really thank you so much for your time today with us, Laura.


Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. Well, that will conclude this episode of the Space Foundation’s Space4U podcast. Keep your eyes and ears open for more Space4U episodes by checking out our social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And of course our website at On all of these outlets and more, it is our goal to inspire, educate, connect and advocate for the space community because at the Space Foundation we will always have space for you. Thank you for listening.

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Space4U Podcast: Laura Forczyk – Space Consultant