Trent Schools

February 29, 2024

Madeleine, currently in her third year studying Physics with Space Science at the University of Leicester, led the event in which the pupils actively participated, highlighting their enthusiasm for learning and exploration.

Madeleine’s visit to Trent was as part of a Group Industry Project, a module offered to all third-year students, in which her team was partnered with the National Space Centre and tasked with constructing an outreach activity based on the ESA’s PANGAEA programme, a new training programme for astronauts.

The outreach activity, which has been performed by the University students to around 140 children across the country, involved carrying out a mock-astronaut mission to demonstrate the difference between respective training programmes, as well as showcasing the University of Leicester’s incredible new handheld spectrometer.

Madeleine and her team with Trent College pupils as part of space-themed outreach activity.


Madeleine says: “Third year is very exciting, even when just considering what is offered as part of my course and this project has been a gamechanger, both in skill development and in networking opportunities. We worked closely with the team at the University who are developing an instrument for this programme. Given that I want to pursue a PhD in space instrumentation, and also want to be an astronaut one day, this was a great way to get on the right people’s radar.”

As a result of her passion for the project, which initially began as a module to challenge students in developing an outreach activity but has since grown in scale and scope, Madeleine is now in the running for one of the University’s coveted SURE internships.

She says: “This has by far been the longest and most complex project I’ve had a role in managing and to see it become so successful has really enthused my passion in the industry. The insight into the instrumentation-building process, that we used to formulate the main mechanic of the activity, will be vital to my path as I continue into this area.”

In her conversation with us, Madeleine said: “I am having an amazing time at university, and I am very grateful of my experience at Trent for how it has prepared me to make the most of my degree. I cannot stress the importance of enthusiastic teaching enough, to truly engage students, and I wish to thank all my teachers for giving me exactly that. I have in the past praised the wide-ranging opportunities available at Trent, and I believe those help me every day in university.”

Whilst Madeleine has opted to pursue a STEM focused career, the former Drama Scholar attributes much of her confidence and skill in presenting to her time spent with the Trent College Drama department.  She told us: “I was a Drama Scholar throughout my time at Trent and the experience has been invaluable when considering the heavy focus my course places on assessed presentations. The ability to adapt, and to have skills beyond the STEM field has served me well in the university cohort.”

Not only has Madeleine been able to showcase her passion for Space Science to schoolchildren, she has also given demonstrations to representatives from ESA and the Vice-Chancellor of the University Nishan Canagarajah, culminating in the finale of the project most recently, when Madeleine and her team were given the opportunity to showcase their activity to MP Chi Onwurah, at an event held at Space Park Leicester.  “It was an invaluable experience and a great honour to display our project on a national level!!

Madeleine presenting to MP, Chi Onwurah, at an event held at Space Park Leicester.

Madeleine has her Dissertation project to complete this year, the topic of which is focused on building an instrument that can be sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa to search for life, a project she hopes is going to lead directly into a PhD in the topic.  She said: “My direct supervisors are currently working on a project that is sending a rover to Mars by the end of the decade, called ExoMars, as well as sending a Raman Spectrometer to the moon. I hope to join their team one day. It’s fabulous to be already working alongside the industry frontrunners whilst in my undergrad. The course is very challenging, but I am loving every minute of it!”

You would think that Madeleine wouldn’t have any free time to fit much more into her work and study, but in addition to all of this she has been succeeding in, Madeleine is also the President of the University’s Astronomy and Rocketry Society (UoL AstRoSoc).  In addition to the regular Society activities, such as organising visits to networking conferences and hosting stargazing nights in the Observatory, which is available for student use, the Society was offered an exciting opportunity by producers at the BBC to appear on an episode of The Sky at Night which was shot from the University’s Observatory in Oadby, Leicestershire.  “The BBC initially looked to shoot the episode in Leicester because they wanted the input of the academics at the University. It is definitely a perspective shift to see the lecturers I encounter on a daily basis, including Suzie Imber and Emma Bunce, heralded on National TV as being at the front of their fields. My daily lectures have become a who’s who of important British figures in the Space Industry!

Madeleine is also the President of the University’s Astronomy and Rocketry Society (UoL AstRoSoc)


“Reflecting on this whole experience has made me so proud, of my team and the skills we developed along the way. Here’s to many more successful projects in the future!”