Wendy Mensink knew at the age of 8 that she had a passion for space travel after she first visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

Of course, Wendy realized that in order to become an astronaut, she would need to follow some type of technical study – even though this was not one of her strengths. But instead of struggling with maths or science, she pursued her other passion: graphic design.

After finishing school at ArtEZ, Academy of the Arts, she found her love for space did not waver. She knew that in order to be truly happy with her work she still needed to find her own place in space. And so she did. She is now a graphic designer for various space-related companies, among others the European Space Agency, and as co-founder of Viridian Raven –an application that makes early intervention for global forest management possible by using Earth observation data from satellites- Wendy has indeed made her way into space –in her own way.

On 9 November, Wendy will take the stage at TEDxYouth@BSN to share why it’s important to follow your passions and dreams in order to create your own path in life. Based upon her own experience, Wendy realized that there is a good chance that the profession you are going to follow does not yet even exist – so, you must stay true to yourself and be diligent and work hard.

She hopes to encourage young people to follow what is in their heart or what makes them truly happy, and that they can learn so much by doing this. “I admire people who work hard to pursue their dreams”, said Wendy. “Not everything will be easy in life; it takes courage and persistence.”

We are super excited for Wendy to be joining us for TEDxYouth@BSN and look forward to hearing more about her story and perhaps inspire all of us to follow what is in our hearts.

In the meantime, to tide you over until the big event, you can watch Wendy’s favourite TEDx talk by Thorsten Schmidt: ‘When you go to Mars, bring a chef!’