Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to speak via Skype at all-girls school in Victoria

The Governor General will be beamed into an all-girls Saanich school today to talk to students about her job, space exploration and everything in between.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, a former astronaut with experience on two space flights, will be speaking to St. Margaret’s School students via Skype as part of an interactive program aimed at engaging students with the office of Canada’s governor general.

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“This is very much whatever the students want to make of it,” said Philip Pierce, the school’s director of communications and technology.

St. Margaret’s, the first all-girls STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) school in Western Canada, is the first school in Greater Victoria invited to participate in the interactive program with the office of the governor general.

Payette, who was installed as governor general in 2017, is an engineer, businesswoman and former member of the Canadian Astronaut Corps. She served as chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007.

Students from Grades 3 to 12 have submitted a range of questions, asking what it’s like to be governor general of Canada, what motivated Payette to become an astronaut and the benefits and challenges of being a woman in a leadership role, Pierce said. “That’s what she’s going to focus on.”

Payette graduated in 1986 from McGill University and went on to earn a master’s degree in applied science from the University of Toronto on a Massey scholarship. She was among four candidates chosen from more than 5,000 by the Canadian Space Agency for the astronaut training program.

Payette speaks six languages, plays piano and has sung with symphony orchestras.

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