Which alumnus/alumna should ISU*USA interview next?

Will Pomerantz
36% (5 votes)
Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom
64% (9 votes)
Total votes: 14

Did you know?

Via Brian Shiro:

Three ISU-USA alumni have helped co-found an exciting new organization called Astronauts4Hire.  Check it out!!


They had their big launch on April 12... Brian says, "Expect big things from us going forward as we train our way to become astronauts and pave the way for others to do the same."

ISU Derby -- help us design an ISU networking game

What I wanted to do most when I took over as ISU*USA president was to refresh the alumni community, help you network, make it easier and worthwhile for you to stay in touch. We have done good in some activities -- getting contacts and events set up in regions, putting out a regular newsletter -- but there is not as much activity as I had hoped.

Fellow alumni, I have an idea. [triumphant music] But, I need your help.

Last weekend I attended BarCamp Boston. One of the presentations I attended, "Best Practices for Game Mechanices in your Web App" by Sachin Agarwal, gave me an idea about turning ISU networking into a game. Think, for example, of Foursquare.

You -- yes, YOU -- can be a winner at ISU Derby.

The basic idea is this: get points for activity on isu-usa.org, every week the alumnus/alumna with the most points wins a prize. Here are my first thoughts on what you can get points for:

  1. Comments -- Did you know you can add comments to blog posts, alumni updates, and events? It's true! Try it on this post. Suggested score: max 1 point per day; max 1 point per post.
  2. Invitations --Invite an alumnus/alumna to add a profile on isu-usa.org. Suggested score: 5 points for each fulfilled invitation.
  3. Feedback -- Give us ideas for improving isu-usa.org. (Seriously, I know some things are wacky on this site. Help me work it out. Help me help you.) Suggested score: max 5 points per week (totally subjective based on usefulness).

Does this make sense? Is it stupid? Do you have any ideas to make it better? Leave a comment!

For the first week or two, I will keep the score in a spreadsheet and post the leaders to our @isuusa Twitter feed. After refinement I will integrate the point scoring directly into the web site so that your score will be shown beside your name (a la eBay feedback).

This week (from now until Sunday), the prize is: I will send you a postcard for participating. Lame? Maybe. But I will use your feedback and next week we will crown a winner for the week, then a winner for the next week, etc., and real prizes will be given.

ISU alumni spotlight: Shawna Pandya (MSS 2007)

Shawna Pandya is an ISU alumna from the MSS class of 2007. She is a Canadian, but since she is currently residing in the San Francisco area we have borrowed her from CAISU for our ISU*USA alumni spotlight. Hopefully we have not instigated a border war.

In the summer of 2009, Shawna attended the inaugural Singularity University Graduate Studies Program at NASA Ames Research Center. CiviGuard started as a team project at GSP (similar to the team projects at the ISU Summer Session Program). Following the summer at SU, Shawna, who serves as Chief Medical Officer, and another team member, Zubin Wadia, incorporated CiviGuard. In March 2010 they launched their first product at O'Reilly Media's Where 2.0 Conference in San Jose, California. More information about their launch can be found at en.oreilly.com/where2010/public/schedule/detail/10943.

CiviGuard's tagline is: "What if your smartphone could save your life?" The definition of their GSP project was to design a solution that would positively impact one billion people in ten years using accelerating and emerging technologies. Apparently this wasn't challenging enough, so Shawna and team looked for a way to impact 6.8 billion people.

"What is a problem space that is just as applicable to someone in the South Pacific as it is here in the United States? And for us that answer was obvious: natural and manmade disasters. Whether you're talking about an earthquake in Chile or Haiti or San Francisco or a global pandemic, disasters can affect anyone anywhere at anytime."

CiviGuard takes existing information that authorities have at incident command -- step-by-step instructions to the nearest evacuation routes, location of medical aid and shelter, access to disaster response libraries -- and delivers it to individuals via their smartphones. Crisis management platforms exist already, but Shawna notes that CiviGuard does two things better. First, it passes the information quicker. Most current systems take one to twelve hours to reach one million users, but CiviGuard plans to do it in two minutes. Second, CiviGuard would allow authorities to send critical information to a specific geographical area. Current systems send blanket announcements, which can have the unintended consequence of increasing panic or providing information from a irrelevant location.

CiviGuard is Shawna's first venture into the entrepreneurial world. "I've always been the one to start up a new initiative or a club or an organization or a charitable drive. Being in Silicon Valley, it's the perfect place for it. The nice thing about being in this part of the world is people are so passionate about their ideas. The mentality is if you're passionate about an idea, and even if you don't have the skill set to fully round out your vision, you find someone who is equally passionate and then start working together to implement it. It's all about passion for big ideas, technology, and then turning it into reality. It's really a cool part of the world to be living in."

Shawna thanks ISU for helping her get to where she is now. In addition to meeting some of her best friends, she also credits ISU's benefit to her career profile. "I had some extremely fantastic career opportunities in publications focused on telemedicine, telemedicine in the developing world, space technology spinoffs for medical benefit. I had some amazing conference opportunities, was invited to chair several sessions at different conferences, which typically you don't get to do at this point in your career. I think that's what ultimately made me a compelling candidate for SU."

What's next? Their first mission is to secure a user base in the 25 most populous cities in the United States. "Recent years have shown us there's so much that threatens these cities, whether it's terrorism, earthquakes, flooding, or hurricanes. We want to make sure that we are able to play a role in emergency response in these cities." They are looking at cities outside of the US where there are large populations of smartphone users. Additionally they are developing a medical line of products in order to help the developing world. "We're working on something that's going to be extremely portable, and help transform the way we do mass casualty incidents and patient triage tracking. That's really what first responders who have been in the developing world get excited about."

In the near term, you can see CiviGuard giving a keynote presentation at the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, DC on 25 May 2010. Good luck to Shawna and the CiviGuard team.

You can contact Shawna via our web site at isu-usa.org/user/94.

For more information, please visit:

Welcome, ISU African Alumni Association

We received an email from James Mason (SSP 2008, MSS 2009) today that the ISU African Alumni Association web site is now open: isuaaa.org. Congratulations, James and team, and best of luck. We've added you to our Community page, where you can hang out with our friends from Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.

Yuri's Night 2010 - Boulder, CO

Mike & Carol Simpson, with Ryan Kobrick (MSS '03), at the Yuri's Night Boulder event. Note that Andy Aldrin is on TV in the background, he was on the global webcast at the time.

NASA/JPL Planetary Science Summer School 2010 - Apply Now!

Via Rachel Zimmerman Brachman (MS 1998):

Attention Planetary Science and Engineering Postdocs:

Applications are now open for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Planetary Science Summer School -- The ultimate Team Project!

Applications are due May 1, 2010. See the link below for details: http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/pscischool.


  • Session I: July 19 - 23, 2010
  • Session II: August 2 - 6, 2010

Where: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Application Deadline: May 1, 2010

Notification of Selection: By June 1, 2010

Yuri's Night 2010

Yuri's Night 2010 is this weekend!  Parties across the globe will be happening from April 9-12... is there a party in your area?  Find out if other ISU alumni are hosting or attending a party in your area via the ISU-USA Google or Facebook Groups.

Singularity University applications due 15 March

Hi all,

Applications for Singularity University 2010 Graduate Studies Program are now open! Please see the message below from ISU & SU co-founder Peter Diamandis.




Dear ISU friends & family,

We have an exciting opportunity for you!

One year ago, with the support of Google, NASA, ePlanet Ventures, Autodesk and a dozen Associate Founders, Ray Kurzweil, Bob Richards, Mike Simpson and I founded Singularity University. Through SU's 10-week Graduate Studies Program (GSP), we introduced the next generation of leaders to the biggest ideas in emerging technologies and innovative thought - crucial within the space sector!

In our first year we admitted 40 top graduate students from a 1200+ applicants pool.  In our inaugural (GSP'09) year, 5% of the class came from the ISU family.  In keeping up with our tradition of seeking the best, most innovative and most interdisciplinary leaders and thinkers, we invite you to apply to SU – and help us identify top candidates for GSP10.

We have a number of full and partial scholarships that you (and those you refer to us) will be able to apply for.
Our next SU GSP (Graduate Summer Program) will run from June 19th - August 28th, 2010 (in Mountain View, CA (on the campus of NASA Ames) and we have a number of full and partial scholarships available. Please forward this email to potential candidates and/or ask them to fill out an application at http://bit.ly/SingularityUniversityApplication.

Thank you in advance for taking a look at SU's program and for recommending some world class students!

Ad astra,


Peter H. Diamandis, MD
Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE Foundation
Co-Founder/Chairman, Singularity University

Share your 2009 with ISU alumni

Hello, alumni. You may have seen this email (below) in your inbox. We're asking alumni to send ISU*USA a one sentence update -- so short, so easy, and we don't hear from you enough so how can you resist? -- about something interesting that happened to you in 2009. Then we'll compile them all in the newsletter.

But, there are quite a few alumni who we either (a) don't have contact information for or (b) simply haven't gotten the word to yet. (And (c) we're running out of time.)

Could you give us a hand and point them here so they can participate? We'd really really like to hear from you and them and everyone.

Dear alumni,

ISU*USA, the US alumni association for the International Space University, is putting together our end-of-year newsletter for 2009. (If you're not getting it and would like to, email: news@isu-usa.org.) We'd like to share something interesting from your year with the rest of the alumni.

Please send us a one sentence update to news@isu-usa.org about something that happened to you in 2009. (Deadline: this Saturday, 19 December.)

It could be anything: a new job, something exciting at work, an addition to your family, a new home -- anything that you would like to share with the alumni family. We'll include it in the newsletter.

Thanks for your help, and best wishes for 2010,
Kirk Kittell
SSP2006, ISU*USA President

If you have an account here on isu-usa.org, you can post your own updates whenever you like to keep your alumni friends and family in the loop. If you don't have an account, please consider joining isu-usa.org and helping to keep the network strong.


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