Remote learning has not stopped UNSW Canberra mid-year graduate Ruth Harrison from boosting her skills and forming meaningful connections with fellow classmates and colleagues in the space industry.  

We first met Ruth in 2021 when she shared the origin story of Rocket Woman, an organisation providing opportunities and support for women returning to STEM careers.  

Ruth has since completed a Graduate Certificate in Space Operations and will graduate this month with a Master of Space Operations from UNSW Canberra.  

Having studied space and astronomy during high school, and a passion for aviation and aerospace, there was no question Ruth would continue her postgraduate studies. However, her journey did not come without its challenges.  

“Remote learning was very different to the university experience I remember from the early naughties. Having returned to study after some significant time, I will admit it was a learning curve,” Ruth said.  

Physically separated by distance and only able to interact with lecturers and classmates through a screen, Ruth felt the difference between remote learning and in-person teaching.  

“In a face-to-face environment, you can bounce ideas off people and get other people’s understanding of concepts. It takes discipline but also a level of communication skills to create relationships through electronic means,” she said.  

Online learning allowed Ruth to meet classmates from all across Australia and the world, opening up an abundant opportunity to network across the global industry.  

“The biggest highlight was meeting–even if it was remotely–so many people from different backgrounds. Some working in the space industry, some from defence, some just wanting to do something different, and some looking to get a job in the space industry.” 

Beyond expanding her connections across the space industry, Ruth received “not only an insight into space technology, space operations and how space helps people around the globe, but also a great insight into the Australian space industry.” 

With her technical skills, knowledge, and professional network expanded, Ruth continues to look to the stars.  

“Completing the course only increased my passion for the industry and to push for diversity and growth within this growing local capability,” Ruth said.  

“Would I do it again? Most definitely!” 

Congratulations to Ruth and her fellow 2022 graduates!