By Staff Sgt. Stacy Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
When she walked into the auditorium, her nerves began to get the best of her. The room was gargantuan, and her place was on a stage in front of hundreds.
As questions began, Capt. Genevieve Minzyk became calm, knowing she was exactly where she was supposed to be.
During the 25th National Space Symposium held at The Broadmoor Hotel March 30 through April 2, Captain Minzyk, 50th Space Wing executive officer, was part of “A New Generation for the Next Space Age,” a panel of young space professionals who shared their viewpoints on the space industry March 31.
Captain Minzyk became involved in space at an early age, telling her mom she wanted to be an astronaut in fourth grade.
“My mother told me then that the best way for me to become one, was to be in the Air Force,” Captain Minzyk said.
She attended space camp twice and got involved in anything space related she could, taking classes for kids at the local junior college.
Captain Minzyk joined the Civil Air Patrol and her interest in the Air Force grew as she participated in activities such as Air Force Space Command’s Familiarization Course at Patrick AFB, Fla. She joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in college and became a space and missile operator for the Air Force following graduation.
Citing math and science as extremely important in her development, Captain Minzyk believes the key to getting the next generation interested in space is improving our national math and science programs and showing kids how fun the two subjects can be.
“We also need to make things like space camp more accessible to kids; it’s really expensive,” she said. “The key is to grab kids early and get them passionate and excited about space and space camps.”
Staying excited about space will help space professionals from becoming complacent, which Captain Minzyk believes could be the biggest threat facing the space arena.
“As Americans, we often take for granted our access to and control of space,” she said. “We have been dominant in this area for so long that it’s easy to forget that we do not own space. Other nations are catching up if not exceeding us in the space technology department.”
Looking forward, Captain Minzyk believes America needs to avoid the mindset that space will always be an open arena, and continue to fund space projects for the future.
As for her own future, Captain Minzyk’s goals are simple, but express the mindset of so many space professionals before her.
“I hope to keep wearing the Air Force uniform, serving my country and making contributions to space for the next generation.”