A master’s degree at Trent University is launching Erika Crowley into a whole new universe. Ms. Crowley, a current M.Sc. student in Environmental & Life Sciences at Trent, will start a new master’s program at the prestigious International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France. She is one of just 50 students from around the world accepted into the program each year.
“I’m really excited because I’ve always wanted to study aerospace medicine, exploring how an astronaut’s body is affected by the conditions in space,” says Ms. Crowley. “I saw the ISU program on a profile of an astronaut on NASA’s website a long time ago and kept coming back to this opportunity, but I don’t know if I would have done this without doing my master’s at Trent first.”
Ms. Crowley’s academic trajectory is coloured with interdisciplinary, hands-on experience, as well as engagements in extracurricular programs. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Trent, specializing in Health Science. During her undergrad, Ms. Crowley completed a community-based research project with the Skin Care Centre for Dermatology, completed an Honours thesis research project, and was a member of Trent’s Pre-Med club and Chemistry Undergrad Society.
Ms. Crowley’s tipping point—the moment she knew she was ready for her dream—was during her masters in Environmental & Life Sciences supervised by Dr. Steven Rafferty, where she had the opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone and travel the world speaking about her research.
“My family is from Peterborough and I went to Trent University,” says Ms. Crowley. “But during my master’s, I traveled to Ireland, China, Hong Kong and the U.S. and will be going to Germany this summer to present my research. These experiences had a huge impact on my decision to study internationally. Spending time alone on mainland China, for example, gives you the confidence to be in a foreign place where you don’t know the language.”
This September, Ms. Crowley will launch the next stage of her dream at the ISU, completing their one-year Master of Space Studies program. She will bring a background in biochemistry and work with classmates from diverse disciplines.
“I’m looking forward to being surrounded by people who are obsessed with space and to make connections in an industry I’m passionate about,” Ms. Crowley says.
With further plans to complete a medical degree and medical research after the ISU all with the goal of becoming a clinical scientist, Ms. Crowley is firing on all engines.