Dr. Norah Patten is an Irish aeronautical engineer and an award winning STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths advocate. Norah is from Ballina, County Mayo and was just 11 years old when she first visited NASA while on a family vacation to the United States. Ever since that moment, she was fascinated and completely absorbed in Space. She wanted to educate herself about everything that she possibly could in relation to space exploration, rockets and even how perhaps she could become an astronaut someday. Norah continued to visit NASA on numerous occasions as a teenager, and strategically selected to study Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Limerick Patten completed a work placement at Boeing during her undergraduate degree program and continued her education at the University of Limerick where she obtained her doctorate in Aerodynamics in 2011.
In 2017, Norah was one of 12 participants selected from various parts of the world to engage in a unique Scientist- astronaut training programme in Florida. It is anticipated that she will become Irelands first female astronaut. Norah hopes that along her journey of becoming an astronaut she will inspire and encourage the younger generation of Ireland to have big dreams and ‘Reach for the stars’. Patten created Planet Zebunar, a STEM product for children that is inclusive, non-gender specific and offers an immersive experience through the combination of offline and online technologies, namely augmented reality. Norah also wrote her own book ‘Shooting for the stars’ in 2019, it is a book aimed at children and young adults where she discusses her experience so far with going to space and the steps involved in becoming an astronaut.
Patten's mission is to develop a community of STEM enthusiasts and to inspire the next generation of engineers, astronauts, scientists and innovators.