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Manchester High School for Girls



On Monday 13th June, pupils at Manchester High School for Girls were fortunate to spend time with former pupil, Dr Kotska Wallace, currently Principal Engineer at the European Space Agency in The Netherlands.

This was the first time that Kotska had returned to Grangethorpe Road since leaving in 1989, delivering talks to girls in both the Preparatory Department and Sixth Form.

Following on from work girls in Year 4 and 5 have been doing around the solar system, Kotska spoke to them about satellite missions to Venus, Mercury and Mars, as well as the asteroid belt that surrounds Jupiter.

With students in Dr Leach’s Year 12 Physics class, Kotska spoke in more detail about her work on the EARTHCare Mission which studies our planet’s atmosphere in a bid to inform knowledge of climate change and ability to predict weather patterns.

The upcoming EU referendum was even touched upon with Kotska explaining that the work the European Space Agency undertakes is completely independent of the EU set up. The European Space Agency employs 2,233 different people representing 21 different countries.

Of her work, Kotska commented: “There is always a new and unexpected challenge, always a new area of expertise in which to fast-track familiarity. The space industry is very collaborative and I regularly work with colleagues at NASA, Roscosmos in Russia and JAXA.

“Even if you’re not interested in science or engineering but are interested in space and new frontiers, don’t discount a career in the industry. We need specialists in a wide range of fields such as law, finance and psychology to support our work, so go for it!”