Students being awarded certificate

Image: (L to R) Monash Faculty of IT Dean Professor Ann Nicholson, Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo, NISA Program Lead Professor Chris Lawrence, US Consul General Kathleen Lively with the NISA students

The two female and three male students have been selected for the first ever cohort of the National Indigenous Space Academy.

They will partner with a scientist or engineer mentor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) in California for the 10-week full time internship. They will complete projects outlined by their mentors while also contributing to NASA JPL missions.

The students are:

  • Cedar Lett, Griffith University
  • Edward Vanderfeen, Western Sydney University
  • Lincoln Bourke, University of Sydney
  • Linden Beaumont, Monash University
  • Tully Mahr, University of Melbourne.

The chosen students are first taking part in a space bootcamp focused on aerodynamics, robotics, astrophysics, planetary science, engineering, computer and earth sciences. They are also learning about past and current space exploration missions they will be exposed to at NASA JPL.

The program will create a pathway for the students to take part in NASA JPL projects such as robotics, robot perception control, path planning and artificial intelligence.

The Australian Space Agency funds the National Indigenous Space Academy, which is delivered by Monash University. First piloted in 2019, the program is led by proud Wadjak/Ballardong Noongar man Associate Dean (Indigenous) Professor Chris Lawrence in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said developing a diverse STEM workforce is a priority of the Australian Government.  
‘As we continue to grow our space sector here at home, we have an opportunity to do that in a uniquely Australian way by embracing thousands of years of First Nations knowledge in making sense of the land, by looking to the sky.’

‘These students are going to be exposed to cutting-edge space missions and will develop knowledge and skills they can bring home to our space and tech community.

Learn more about the recipients

Visit the Monash University National Indigenous Space Academy webpage.