Natalie Panek “IWD Showcase: Learning Should Know No Boundaries” | NSB Engage Virtual Webinar

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #ChooseToChallenge, inspired us to feature a speaker who has made this choice throughout her entire career. From challenging gender norms in STEM to challenging herself and those around her to commit to learning and growth, Natalie Panek has been a strong advocate for women in STEM while helping make important advances in her field.

As an Aerospace Engineer, Natalie has worked on an array of projects that include building space robotics, repairing/servicing satellites, studying the effects of lunar dust on hardware, and even a Mars rover. Throughout these challenging projects, she understands that learning & growth happens every day: from failure, from colleagues, or from new experiences.

In this presentation, Natalie shares her experiences and lessons learned as a woman in STEM and her advice for structuring your life to build in learning opportunities, remain open to possibilities, and hold yourself accountable for growing.

Key takeaways from this presentation include practical advice for:

  • Understanding the pillars of learning including: embracing failure and remaining optimistic.  
  • Working outside of comfort zones.
  • Changing organizational culture & breaking down barriers.



As a Member of Technical Staff at MDA’s Robotics and Automation division, Natalie works on the next generation of Canadian space robotics and space exploration programs. She seeks to pursue the road less travelled while working towards her dream of becoming an astronaut. At age 20, she was the first female driver of the University of Calgary’s inaugural solar-powered vehicle which raced up from Texas to Calgary. With degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Natalie has also co-authored papers on Microgravity Combustion and On-orbit Satellite Servicing. Her love of space and aviation led her to obtain a private pilot’s license to fly a single-engine aircraft. The Financial Post described Natalie as “a vocal advocate for women in technology”.She is a technology contributor for The Next Women Business Magazine and was featured on the editorial site Women You Should Know as a STEM Rock Star who is revolutionizing how we think about women in tech. Natalie is also both a mentor and program adviser for Cybermentor, through the University of Calgary.

View Natalie Panek’s profile, or request more information about hosting her as a speaker.


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