We agree with UNSW Canberra mid-year graduate Flying Officer Kaylee Verrier when she says “‘24-year-old rocket scientist' has a pretty good ring to it”. 

The idea of working in space is no new uncharted territory for FLGOFF Verrier. 

“I have always loved space – from astrophysics and space exploration to Star Wars and science fiction,” FLGOFF Verrier said. 

FLGOFF Verrier completed a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering in 2019 and will graduate this month with a Master of Space Engineering from UNSW Canberra. 

“I loved the idea of specialising my engineering from aircraft systems into rockets, satellites, and any form of space system,” she said. 

Although the Defence Space Command did not exist while she was completing her bachelor's degree, FLGOFF Verrier is thrilled to be another step closer to her lifelong dream of commanding the specialised unit. 

“I have had a long-term ambition of commanding Defence Space Command since 2016. Even though we didn’t have a Defence Space Command back then, I knew we would one day. I’ve been very dedicated to building up my skillset and knowledge to make myself the best possible candidate for that sort of position.”  

Being able to work on this during her time with UNSW Canberra has helped FLGOFF Verrier pave the way towards her dream job. 

“I’ve worked with rocket systems, test-launches, and helped project manage large-scale design, test and evaluation projects that have all benefited from the skillsets my master's degree provided.” 

There is no denying how proud FLGOFF Verrier is to complete her degree. There is no stopping her as she begins her next venture in a second master’s degree – a Master of Space Operations at UNSW Canberra. 

However, completing her studies has not come without its challenges. 

“It’s been a demanding mix of juggling priorities and simply not wanting to study after working all day. It is also challenging being a remote student for the first time, and not having the same bubble of professors and fellow students around to talk to and get to know,” FLGOFF Verrier said. 

FLGOFF Verrier acknowledged the flexibility of remote study and the support from her family and partner as her “little cheerleaders” that helped her get through her years of studying. 

When asked what advice she would give current students, FLGOFF Verrier said “stick with it, and work at your own pace”. 

“University is not a race, your career is not a race. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to start or finish, just keep at it, and don’t lose faith. Everyone is running their own race in their own time with their own goals, and that is OK. Take a break when you need it.” 

Congratulations to FLGOFF Verrier and her fellow 2022 graduates!