Inspiring Skibb girl aims for the stars

Posted on: 9th June, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ This is the mantra of 27-year-old Amy Capener from Skibbereen who is literally aiming for the stars. Amy has been offered one of 12 places on the unique Master of Science degree course Space Physiology and Health at King’s College in London.

Although loans, scholarships and a part-time job should cover two-thirds of the estimated £32,426 cost of Amy’s year in London, she still has to raise £13,626 before she can realise her dream.

The past-pupil of Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty, who has already overcome a number of challenges to get where she is today, has set up a crowdfunding page (www.crowdfunder.co.uk/space-inspires), to try to make up the amount she needs to continue her education.

Amy is the first in her family to attend university; something she wasn’t always sure would be possible. “I’m from a one-parent family and although my mum doesn’t have the means to support me financially, she is an amazing woman and has been so supportive of me in so many other ways.

“I had no idea what I really wanted to do when I first started college,” Amy continues. “I started off studying Nutrition and then swapped to Sports Science.” Amy is graduating Oxford Brookes University in June with first class honours in her undergraduate degree and one of the highest grades across the department of health and life sciences.

This MSc programme is the only one of its kind in Europe and completing it will furnish Amy with the skills necessary for planning and carrying out research that will benefit both spacefaring and terrestrial humans.

All contributions will assist in Amy’s quest to work in
the advancement of physiology in space and make a real difference in supporting and improving human space exploration. “I hope to have a direct or indirect impact on getting humans to Mars by the 2030s,” she says passionately.

“Space physiology is the study of how the human body works in space. So far, we know that spending several months in space can result in a loss of bone and muscle mass, a decline in muscle strength, structural and functional changes of the heart, and more…By understanding how the body responds to these environments, we can better support astronauts’ health in space and ensure safer space exploration.”

Amy has also struggled with mental illness in the past so completing this MSc holds even more significance because of the challenges she has overcome. She was just 15 when her battle with depression started. “It was only by asking for help that I got through it,” she explains.

“For me, completing this MSc is also an assurance to others that your circumstances do not define your limitations. I want others who feel like I used to – that these experiences are beyond their reach – to know that anything is possible.”

Amy has also been awarded a full scholarship from the UK and European space agencies to study at the International Space University this summer hosted by Cork Institute of Technology.

To help Amy reach her goal, go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/space-inspires.

Facebook and Twitter: spaceinspires.

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