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Rocket Women Featured In Tease & Totes

4 April, 2016

“Wanting to be an astronaut, I printed out the astronaut candidate guidelines from NASA’s website when I was 12 and glued them to the inside cover of my school folder, as a daily reminder of how to reach my goal and set my focus on achieving them. Those guidelines set the direction for my career.” 🚀🌍 Awesome @vmarwaha is today’s #WednesdayWoman. From a young age, she knew what she wanted to do and she’s been 🚀 ever since. To read her inspiring story, and her advice for #womeninstem, please click on link in bio đź’« #inspiration #motivation #rolemodel #stem #space #nasa #astronaut #qotd #physics #quote #engineer #girlboss #girlpower #rocketwomen #ISS #explore #science #ilooklikeanengineer #femalefounder #inspire

A photo posted by Tease + Totes (@teaseandtotes) on

Rocket Women is honoured to be highlighted in Tease + Totes in their “Wednesday Woman” feature.

“This week’s Wednesday Woman is Vinita Marwaha Madill ~ Space Consultant, Founder of Rocket Women, and advocate for women in STEM. Vinita has a diverse range of experience in the space field which includes designing spacesuits for the European Space Agency (ESA), working as an Operations Engineer for the International Space Station (ISS) at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) where she guided astronauts through experiments on the ISS, and where she was involved in astronaut training. “

Tease+Totes is founded by tech stalwart Danielle Newnham, and her twin sister and fashion buyer, Natalie Bardega, with a mission to ‘marry the worlds of fashion and technology for social good’, through empowering statement tops and interviews. “We strongly believe in empowerment being the key factor for women and kids to achieve their potential, and that fashion is the best medium to transport that message far and wide.”

Read the full interview here at Tease+Totes or the highlights below.

“Newnham: Can you tell us what you were like growing up and what first sparked your interest in space?
Marwaha Madill: I’ve always being inquisitive about space and I remember being an enthralled six-year-old when I learned that the first British astronaut, chemist Helen Sharman flew to the Mir space station. She was, although I didn’t know it yet, a role model to me. She showed me at a young age that my dreams were possible.

I’m lucky to have had adults, both parents and great teachers, around me at that age who cultivated that interest and encouraged me to study space. My parents helped me greatly, taking me to the National Space Centre in Leicester, UK on the weekends to experience space hardware firsthand and thankfully let me spend hours reading about space.

I’m also fortunate to have realized my passion at a young age and told my Physics teacher in Year 7 that I wanted to work in NASA’s Mission Control. Throughout my education, this drive was supported and 12 years later led me to fulfilling my dream, working on International Space Station (ISS) operations at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Germany’s answer to NASA’s Mission Control.

Newnham: What have been the biggest obstacles, if any, you have faced as a woman pursuing a career in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Marwaha Madill: 
The biggest obstacles initially were knowing that I could successfully undertake a career in STEM and being able to have my questions answered about what such a career entailed. Allowing girls access to women in STEM is key. With movies and media portraying mainly male scientists, meeting one female scientist can change the life of a young girl as many do not realize that a career in STEM is an option. Their future options can be influenced by a decision they make at a very young age. Positive female role models are essential to provide women with examples to look up to when they’re making the most critical decisions in their educations or career.

To encourage more women into engineering you also also need to inspire them when they’re young. Girls at the age of 11 decide to leave STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), when they’re in an education system where the choice of subjects at school severely limits their options for working in other fields later. Girls need to be allowed to be creative and inquisitive from a young age, rather than being told to play with toys that are seen by many as more appropriate for young girls is key. At 8, I was learning to programme the VCR and encouraged to read voraciously about science. The key is to initially spark an interest in STEM and then to allow that to grow over years, overcoming gender bias, especially in the early years and secondary school. There are an increasing number of companies helping parents to encourage girls when younger and avoid toys that are infused with gender stereotypes, including Goldieblox which allows girls to build and become engineers.

Read the full Tease + Totes article here.

Inspirational women

Rocket Woman Dolly Singh, From SpaceX to Shoe Design

30 April, 2015

As a woman working in engineering, I for one don’t think that fashion should be compromised simply because I work in a typically male work environment. On the contrary. As a woman your wardrobe gives you an edge and for some women gives them that extra boost of confidence. I’m sure to wear a blazer and heels when I want to boost my height and professional look, making me feel more classy and confident. I also, like many women, wear my flats to work (or snow boots in Canada during far too long of the year..) and change into one of the pairs of heels that I keep under my desk once in the office, especially for important meetings and to meet customers. Working in engineering whilst wearing heels, does have it’s limitations, say being aware of safety whilst I’m in the manufacturing department and after a long day on my feet I’m glad to slip into my flats. However this doesn’t have to be the case.

Thesis Couture CEO Dolly Singh [Bloomberg]

I’m beyond excited to hear about the work being done by Dolly Singh and her team at Thesis Couture, an excellent group including an astronaut, a rocket scientist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a fashion scientist. CEO Dolly Singh, a Space X top recruiter for 5 years, states in her recent Bloomberg interview that she’s loved high heels since she was young, however after walking the Space X factory floor everyday, “a 550,000 sq ft industrial space with beautiful clean shiny white floors”, her relationship with shoes became “a personal and intimate one”, becoming unpleasant. Her options were to downgrade her heels and wear “uglier shoes”, or “keep wearing really pretty shoes and have ugly deformed feet”. This concern got to the point for Dolly where it was an important enough problem in her actual life that she decided to “stop complaining and actually do something”! Dolly mentions that surprisingly there is essentially no R&D in fashion, a $40 Billion a year industry. She decided to gather a diverse group of people and allow them to design from a clean sheet of paper to solve the problem.

Shoe design has been the same for centuries, she continues, starting from a metal plate, with a shoe built around it. As you can imaging standing on a metal plate all day isn’t the best idea, or the most comfortable. Therefore Dolly states that “from an engineering and design standpoint, it’s a physics problem”. The team at Thesis Couture are using advanced polymers to create a new shoe design, instead of metal structures, with the shape and material distributing the wearer’s body weight across the structure itself. They can also control the amount of stiffness and strength of the polymer material. Dolly emphasises that it’s  important “for comfortable and sexy to work together”, with them being mutually exclusive essentially the problem. Millions of women have been essentially been standing on uncomfortable metal plates for hundreds of years, but hopefully not for much longer with this amazing team bringing a unique perspective to the shoe industry.

Learn more about Thesis Couture here.