Nothing’s a patch on these York students!

Yesterday three personable and talented York University students shared the spotlight with Canadian Space Agency astronaut Steve MacLean, and York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, as the designs for MacLean’s personal patch and the patch to be worn by all crew members of the next Space Shuttle mission were unveiled at a York news conference.

The team of Graham Huber, Peter Hui and Gigi Lui, third-year students in the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design, was selected after MacLean, a York alumnus, approached students enrolled in a summer design course with the idea of designing both patches. The successful team’s proposal was chosen from the student submissions.

Working closely with MacLean, who will be aboard the next space flight, Mission STS-115/12A, scheduled for May 23, 2003, the group fine-tuned their designs to the specifications of the Canadian Space Agency and NASA.

“We are extremely proud of the efforts of these outstanding design students. It is a wonderful opportunity for these talented designers to showcase their abilities, and is testament to the quality of this unique program that students are producing professional quality work for so important a purpose,” said Marsden. “We are also grateful to Steve MacLean, one of York’s most distinguished alumni, who inspired these students as he has so many others.”

Design student Gigi Lui generated laughter when she talked about her childhood interest in space and the thrill she felt when helping design the two patches for MacLean to wear. “I felt that if I couldn’t go into space physically, at least my intellectual property could go,” she quipped.

The students worked on the designs from June until the end of October. They had to fit their creative work around the rest of their full days, often beginning their designing after 11pm and not stopping until 4am. They spoke highly of MacLean and especially enjoyed the helpful suggestions he gave them.

For his part, MacLean was happy to work with the design team. He spoke jokingly of the patches he has been wearing on his spacesuit until now: “You can tell they are designed by an engineer. This time, I wanted more of an artistic patch to wear in my upcoming mission.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these students on this project,” MacLean said. “Any time you are able to couple professionalism with such enthusiasm, you clearly have a recipe for success.”

For more information on the news conference and on the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design, check the Media Relations Web site at: