Ms Rebecca Charbonneau (2018)
Born to a Cuban-American family in Miami, Florida, I was raised in a community shaped by the events of the Cold War, and grew up listening to Space Age stories of revolution, geopolitical conflict, and international relations. This, in combination with my childhood love of astronomy and science fiction, inspired me to pursue a career in researching space history. After graduating with a double major in Art History and Critical Media & Cultural Studies and a double minor in English Literature and Sexuality, Women’s, & Gender Studies from Rollins College, I earned a Master of Science degree in History of Science, Medicine, & Technology at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, I explored the challenges of international scientific collaboration during the Cold War. This deepened my curiosity regarding international partnership in space, so upon completing my MSc, I interned at NASA and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, where I learned more about international space relations, both then and now. When it comes to human endeavors in space, the Space Race tends to dominate popular memory. The reality, however, is that space plays a larger part in our lives now than ever before, due to technologies such as communications satellites and GPS, and the role of space in national defense. I hope to use the knowledge and skills I gain during my time at Cambridge to positively contribute to humanity’s continued expansion into space, by promoting space policy informed by history.