Niamh Shaw is an Irish scientist, engineer, artist and astronaut-in-training – as if that wasn’t enough, her goal in life is to ignite people's curiosity about STEAM subjects and space, just like Lottie!
She works with Blackrock Castle Observatory as Artist in Residence, and inspires people to dream big, and shows us all that it’s never too late to act upon your dreams. As an Astronaut-in-Training, she recently returned from a simulated Mars mission in the Utah desert, and brought Stargazer Lottie with her - since then Lottie joins her on all her space adventures!
“I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut from the age of 8, and yet it took me 30 years to do something about it. There were no role models around me at that age to point me in the right direction. So now I'm doing something about that.” – Niamh Shaw
What is the Inspired by Space Workshop?
The Inspired by Space drama workshop, given by Dr Niamh Shaw, was for girls aged 8 to 11 years. The aim of the workshop was to explore our place in the solar system using acting and movement.
Using Stargazer Lottie' as inspiration for this workshop, the children were encouraged to consider the effect of gravity and orbits of the planets. Stargazer Lottie loves astronomy, and therefore, using drama and movement, we asked the girls to consider what subjects or activities they love most too - and what kind of career they really want when they grow up!
At the end of the workshop the children either made or presented something about their favourite thing about the solar system, and Stargazer Lottie gave each girl a time capsule to capture their dreams about who they want to be when they grow up so they will never forget.
“Lottie was a great anchor throughout the whole workshop, the Stargazer doll grounded everything and brought it back to them and their future dreams. They were asking was there an Engineer Lottie and an Architect Lottie etc. by the end of the workshop…. They're thinking about their future careers and wanting there to be a Lottie for that career.” – Niamh Shaw
During the workshop, the kids were asked to design a new Lottie, and our two winning designers won themselves a Stargazer Lottie Doll!
Our winners were Amy from Mary Queen of Ireland Girls NS in Limerick, who designed RNLI Lottie, and Tija from Kanturk Girls NS in Cork, who designed Safari Lottie!
“Using positive role models like Lottie we have an opportunity to embed in children at an early age, that they are the masters of their own destiny and have the capacity to achieve their dreams. I'm very proud to be working with the Lottie team and my Blackrock Castle Observatory colleagues on our 'Inspired by Space' event.” – Niamh Shaw
Thank you so much to Niamh Shaw who ran these amazing Inspired by Space Workshops and for telling us all about it – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Niamh's next adventure with Lottie will be travelling to Moscow in Russia, to take part in a Zero Gravity Flight at Star City Cosmonaut Training Centre! Here, she will experience 'weightlessness' just like really travelling to space, and also training in the centrifuge to stimulate high levels of acceleration, and test the reactions and tolerance of astronauts to acceleration above those experienced in the Earth's gravity.
Niamh is constantly encouraging those around her to 'Dream Big' and we at Lottie Dolls fully support her and we're so excited to see what's next for her :)
Find out more about what Niamh does on her website!