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#IRL: How Working in Space Taught Me to See Home Differently

A Former Astronaut on the Importance of Collaboration, Technology, and New Perspectives

Editor’s Note: Before becoming Canada’s 29th Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette was an astronaut who twice flew into space and spent time aboard the International Space Station. A longtime supporter of FIRST in the province of Québec, Governor General Payette addressed FIRST supporters and shared her story at the 2018 FIRST Championship event in Detroit, Michigan.

We should never lose the idea that sometimes we need to take a step back – sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone – and that’s what FIRST allows all of those kids to do when they come together for this championship. It allows them to see things differently, and to see home in a much better way. The sky is not the limit. — Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada

"We never work alone in space. There are always two of us at the controls, as well as a whole team behind us that makes it happen. FIRST is so very similar to real life in this way, and that’s why it is so important. It gives us an amazing perspective.

We get to experience something fabulous, just like our kids right now participating in FIRST. It’s full of folks trying to compete in a fair, open, tolerant and collaborative way—it’s unbelievable. Those kids will experience what it is to work at the forefront of knowledge and discovery, spending time in this environment that’s a little different from home, learning from others. That perspective is so important."

Read more of her speech from the 2018 FIRST Championship on the Inspire blog.

#IRL ("In Real Life")

"In Real Life" is a digital campaign showcasing parallels between the skills, experiences, and values of FIRST youth and working professionals.

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