Alumni Highlight: Dianea Phillips Certified Aerospace Educator

Published: 1 March 2023

Dianea Phillips, BEd’85, was 40 years old when she experienced her first zero-gravity flight.

“I fell in love with aerospace,” recalls Phillips, a Certified Aerospace Educator. “If it spins or flies, I love it. If it changes matter, even better!”

Phillips’s zero-gravity flight was the culmination of her participation in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s 10-day Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, where she lived and trained like an astronaut alongside participants from around the world.

Space Camp was, in some ways, a dream come true. In elementary school, Phillips longed to study the sciences and math; in high school she wanted to be a pilot. But she grew up in a generation where those opportunities were most often reserved for boys.

“My yearning was for science, for math, but it seemed there was always a reason I couldn’t do something,” recalls Phillips.

That experience of lacking access stayed with her, and she’s built a career around sharing her love of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with children who may not otherwise have access to these learning opportunities.

“If we don’t help them get inspired when they’re young, they become the children or young adults who are looking to the future with uncertainty,” says Phillips. “I want young people to know: You get to be the designer of what you want to be. You have every right – and you are deserving – to design and create your own path.”

Designing her own path – with students and science at the centre – is just what Phillips has done.

Read the full article, featured on the McGill Alumni site.
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