ISU*USA Board nominations are now open

Hi all. Nominations for the 2011-2012 ISU*USA Board of Directors are now open. All details about ISU*USA, including elections, is detailed in our bylaws.

In brief, here is what you should know...

Spring 2010 Survey Results

This spring, the ISU*USA Alumni Association invited its members to participate in an online survey to gauge their interest in the various current and potential outreach tools and activities that the Association uses to help maintain the alumni community.

30 alumni participated, and the detailed results for each question are presented below.  Some highlights:

ISU Scholarship Fund dinner

On June 15th 2010, ISU and its International Institute of Space Commerce held a scholarship fund dinner in Washington, DC for the purpose of awarding an honorary Doctor of Space Achievement degree to Dr. Greg Olsen, who as the third private spaceflight participant, visited the International Space Station in October, 2005.  The proceeds for the evening went to benefit ISU's annual scholarship campaign.

Senior current and former NASA & FAA Commercial Space Transportation officials, VIPs of the commercial and personal space industry, and several ISU alumni were on hand for this special event to honor Dr. Olsen, who in his career has been a scientist, entrepreneur, and angel investor.

Alumni websites

Hi all. Here on we like to collect stories and news from you, our favorite alumni. Some of you have your own websites where you post your own stories and opinions and thoughts, etc., more frequently.

If you have a blog, let us know -- leave a comment below. We'd like to link to it. We want you to get to meet each other, share thoughts and experiences.

Also, if you haven't tried it, check out the list of alumni (login required). You can sort the list by alumni that have posted their Facebook and Twitter accounts and get to know them like that.

ISU at NewSpace 2010

The Space Frontier Foundation's NewSpace 2010 conference is coming up at the end of the month and there are some exciting ways they are working ISU in... first, on Friday, July 23rd from 6-8 PM, they will be hosting a SEDS-ISU-SU dinner, which will be open to all ISU alumni for $25.  At the dinner, four current Space Industry leaders will engage in an inspirational and motivational discussion giving their perspectives on How You Can Be a Leader in Tomorrow's Space Industry.  The speakers are Bob Richards, Will Pomerantz, Gary Barnhard, and Tim Bailey.  You can register for the dinner here until July 14th. 

Call for Posters!

Dear Alumni,

With only some two months left, this year's Alumni conference is fast approaching. We invite you to make a poster submission for this event.

Since your time at the ISU, many of you have worked on interesting, far-reaching, and innovative research projects. Your ideas encompassing physics, technology, medicine, philosophy, art, and fields in between, have made your peers and audiences excited about and believe in the opportunities of space. Do not let your ideas and research projects end there!

By submitting a poster presentation, you are actively engaging in sharing your ideas with the ISU community, in creating a forum for discussion, in interacting with peers, with whom you can constructively develop and expand your research.

Submit your poster presentation for the Alumni conference 2010 "Something New; Something Borrowed" - held from 6-8 August 2010.

Vote for the next ISU alumni interview

Taber MacCallum, SSP 1988, CEO at Paragon
50% (7 votes)
Adam Baker, SSP 1994, Small Satellite Launch Manager at Virgin Galactic
14% (2 votes)
Jim Keravala, SSP 1997, CEO at Flaii
36% (5 votes)
Total votes: 14

An interview with ISU alumna Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, SSP 1989

When I caught up with Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom (SSP 1989), she was preparing to go to Maker Faire, the ultimate do-it-yourself conference, to represent Singularity University. This was SU's first year at Maker Faire, an opportunity to introduce themselves to new friends in Silicon Valley, to explain how new technologies will be used to solve the world's pressing needs. Several faculty from SU were there, and SU executive director Salim Ismail gave a special talk on Sunday 23 May.

Before Emeline takes us a little further into what she does, what is Singularity University? I will borrow their mission statement: "Our mission is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies to address humanity's grand challenges."

Emeline, a fixture in the ISU DC scene for years, moved to Mountain View, California, in spring of 2009, along with her husband Eric (SSP 1991) who now serves as Team Project Director at SU. Bob Richards approached her in the final months of preparation for the inaugural SU Graduate Studies Program because of her experience in setting up ISU Summer Session Programs. She started out as the academic director for the summer, then moved on to manage all of SU's programs. Since then they have run two successful nine-day executive programs in the fall and spring, and are planning to expand to four or more executive programs per year. There is, as they say, no rest for the weary.

This year, Emeline is the GSP10 Program Director. For those of you who are SSP alumni, you can appreciate the challenge of trying to fit the numerous topics related to space development into a single summer. Now, multiply the topics for a GSP session, where space is just one track out of ten. "It is a challenge to boil it all down, but we're really giving them just a baseline of what they need to know for a certain topic. Then we concentrate more on the breakthroughs that are coming up in that technology within the five to ten year timeframe."

In 2010 the GSP expanded from nine weeks to ten weeks. The final nine weeks mimic the ISU SSP, starting with lectures, then workshops and site visits, finishing with a team project. The extra week is what Emeline calls the Grand Challenges Week, an overview of the team project's "problem space" to be covered during the summer. "We're trying to bring in big league specialists and speakers that can talk about humanity's grand challenges like food, energy, waste etc..  They will discuss what the problem is, what's been done, what didn't work, what their wishlist is for how to solve the problem. It gives an overview for the students about what exactly is happening out there from the people who have been on the ground."

One of the changes she helped work on for this summer was the composition of the student body. Last year there were forty students, the majority were from North America. This year there will be eighty students, and about sixty are from outside the US. "We made a real push to try to get female students and also students from developing countries, especially those people who have seen the problem and can contribute more instead of a theoretical notion of what the problem is."

Finally, what does it take to be a GSP student? Emeline arrived late last year, but was part of the admissions process this year. "There are three things that we look for. One is of course their academic background. The second, which is different from ISU, is that we do look intently on the leadership and entrepreneurial experience of each of the students. The third part is what they have done regarding grand challenges. We're looking for people who are aware and really want to help as opposed to entrepreneurs who just want to make a buck."

When she's not working at SU, Emeline is Payload Flight Manager for Odyssey Moon. It's a small world, though: Odyssey Moon has an office in the same building at NASA Ames as SU.

Now, Bay Area ISU alumni you have a mission. When Emeline was in the DC area, I recall hearing of her adventures in kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking with other ISU alumni. Emeline suggests that a lack of free time keeps here from indulging in the same activities. I suspect that's true with final preparations and then execution of the SU GSP. However, once that's over, it's up to you to take Emeline outside and get her properly acquainted with beautiful northern California.

Thank you, Emeline, for your time and patience and for sharing your story with the rest of us alumni. Good luck with the finishing touches for GSP 2010. If you would like to contact Emeline, check out her profile on

Keeping with the spirit of the game, Emeline has selected the next three alumni that you -- yes, you -- will pick as the next ISU alumni interviewee: Adam Baker; Jim Keravala; and Taber MacCallum. Go forth and vote for Adam, Jim, or Taber.

For more information:

ISU alumni update: Will Pomerantz, MSS 2004

Last month we asked you, fellow alumni, to select one of our other alumni to be interviewed by ISU*USA. Though Emeline Paat Dahlstrom was selected to be interviewed (read her interview here), we weren't about to let Will Pomerantz off the hook so easily. Will sent us a few updates about what he's doing out in the real world:

Alum William Pomerantz (MSS '04) is celebrating his five year anniversary as a full time employee of the X PRIZE Foundation this month. As Senior Director for Space Prizes at the Foundation, Will manages the $30,000,000 Google Lunar X PRIZE, as well as helping to chart out the Foundation's future activities in space exploration. In addition to working with ISU co-founder Peter Diamandis, Will was also able to bring Amanda Stiles (MSM '08) on board in August 2009, making the Foundation's space staff 50% ISU alums.

Will reports that the Google Lunar X PRIZE is proceeding smoothly. 21 teams are now registered in the competition, including several built around ISU alumni groups. Teams continue to make technical progress and—equally importantly—to find new customers and to build credibility within the international scientific community. The Foundation is also in the process of rolling out educational programs related to the prize, such as MoonBots, a competition that calls for student teams to ‘win the Google Lunar X PRIZE with LEGOs. Over 200 teams registered to compete in MoonBots, which runs throughout the course of the summer.

Will got married in Decemebr of 2009. His wife, Diana, is a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on the Mars Science Laboratory, and is a graduate of one of ISU's sister programs, the NASA Academy.

Listen: we love hearing from alumni. We hope you love it, too (leave us a comment one way or the other, eh?). To keep the ball rolling, Will picked four alumni that he wants to hear from next:

  • Steve Abrams (SSP 1989)
  • Jason Hair (MSS 2001)
  • Andrew Hoppin (SSP 1996)
  • Robbie Schingler (MSS 2001)

Steve, Jason, Andrew, Robbie, you're the next contestants on ISU alumni updates. Share a few paragraphs about what you're doing with

Also: go, vote for who gets the next alumni interview.

Apply now to be a part of the Yuri's Night 50th Anniversary Global Executive Team

Via Loretta Hidalgo (SSP 2000):

Hello Yuri's Night friends and family!

We are inviting you to join our biggest ever Yuri's Night Executive Team! We are going to be hosting the biggest Yuri's Night ever for the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight and we need a stellar team to do it! Our goal this year? 1,000 events in 100 countries, plus celebrities, media coverage, and lots of fun.

The list of available positions is pasted below. To apply simply go to before June 15, 2010. All of the areas of responsibility are unpaid, volunteer positions.

We are building on the incredible success of 2010. It was another record-setting year ever with over 220 events worldwide including NASA Ames Research Center's massive hip hop infused event, as well as amazing events in The Netherlands, Croatia and the Antarctic South Pole Station.

Come be a part of the this years major effort to use space to inspire the planet with what is possible!

If you are interested to join our team, meet powerful young space people like yourself, get experience in managing a major project, and create the biggest most impactful Yuri's Night ever- APPLY NOW. It will be the experience of a lifetime. Translators also needed this year!

The official list of positions available is pasted below and available online with the official 2011 application form, at

Applications are due June 15th, 2010.


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