Governor General Designate inspiring a new generation
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:15PM EDT
Montrealer Julie Payette will be Canada’s next Governor General, becoming the fourth female to be the monarch's representative in Canada.
Her life is full of completed missions, but students like Morgan Greenberg think her latest accomplishment is inspiring a new generation of young women and girls.
“I think it's cool—an astronaut being governor general. I think that's cool, she's also a woman, women can do things that used to be for men,” said the student at McGill’s Exploration science camp.
“They're going to see that they can also see they can be someone like that, with super powers,” said fellow student Gal Barnea.
At the Explorations science camp staff and students explore different areas in science—from robotics to computer programming.
Instructor Kate Morris hopes Payette’s appointment sparks a change in the science community.
“I think there's still some barriers for not having as many role models, not having as many programs geared towards their interests and needs at a young age,” said Morris.
Those are barriers Payette knows all too well.
“You can imagine that it might be related to science, technology and moving forward in a society of knowledge," said Payette.
Astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi, tremendously accomplished in her own right as the first woman to win the million-dollar Herzberg Gold Medal, said she nearly cried tears of joy when she heard the news about her former colleague.
“Women in these areas are tiny minorities so you face an even stronger uphill battle to achieve what an astronaut achieves when you're a woman,” said Kaspi.
“Having someone, an engineer, someone who appreciates science, someone who is so articulate and charming acting as a liaison between the engineering and scientific world and the rest of Canada I think that will have a huge impact.”
Payette will have many legal tasks as Canada’s head of state, including delivering the throne speech and approving the appointment of ministers to federal cabinet. As the head of the nation she will also have multiple ceremonial duties to perform.
But despite that, Payette said she will make time for other priorities once she is sworn in this fall.