February 2009 Edition

ISU*USA Alumni Association      February 2009 Newsletter

In This Issue

New ISU*USA Board Elected

Alumni Spotlight

ISU in the News

Welcome to the latest edition of the ISU*USA Newsletter!

You are probably receiving this because you are part of ISU*USA groups online (Yahoo, Facebook).  If you have a different email you would like on our list, or know of others that would like to be included, please send that information to ashley.whelan@isu-usa.org.  We hope you enjoy the newsletter, but if you ever, for any reason, wish to no longer receive it, please utilize the unsubscribe function at the bottom.

A new Google Group is being formed (visit http://groups.google.com/group/isu-usa to join!) and we will be relaunching the ISU*USA website - so keep your eyes out for more exciting ways to interact with your ISU community.  There are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, so check check the links to those groups on http://isu-usa.org.

If you have feedback about this newsletter, suggestions for content, or would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you!  The Board can be reached at board@isu-usa.org.

Soon we will also start working with alumni to update contact information in the ISU database. If you would like to get ahead of the game, update your information at http://www.isunet.edu/index.php?Itemid=88888888.

The New Board

President - Kirk Kittell, SSP06 (kirk.kittell@isu-usa.org)
Vice President - Daphne Dador, SSP05 (daphne.dador@isu-usa.org)
Treasurer - Shandy Asturias, SSP05 (shandy.asturias@isu-usa.org)
Director, IT/Communications - Ashley Whelan, SSP06 (ashley.whelan@isu-usa.org)
Director, Development- David Treat, SSP07 (david.treat@isu-usa.org)
Full bios available at http://isu-usa.org/about/2009-2010-board/.

Upcoming Events

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

"Orphans of Apollo" Screening -- ISU Fundraiser

Friday, February 27, 2009, Washington, D.C.

Please Join for an Exclusive Director's Screening of the Award Winning Film... "Orphans of Apollo," hosted by GWU, ISU, and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation from 5:00pm - 7:45pm, at the George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium (805 21st St. N.W, Washington, DC).  If you have not already, please RSVP to michael.freeradical@gmail.com.


Next ISU*USA Board Meeting

Thursday, March 12, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Time and Location information will be sent out closer to the event.  If you would like to join via telecon, please email board@isu-usa.org and we will send call-in information.

2009 ISU Alumni Conference

August 6-9, 2009 at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA

Further details and information to be released.

Notify us of upcoming events by emailing information to events@isu-usa.org.We'll post them at http://isu-usa.org/events and include in upcoming newsletters.

Alumni  Spotlight

Kirk Kittell

We know that ISU*USA alumni are making a difference in their communities, so each newsletter will feature at least one profile of a U.S. alumnus (or international alumnus residing or working in the U.S.) who is making an impact, whether in the public eye or behind-the-scenes. 

To kick off this effort, we decided it would be appropriate to feature our newly-elected president, Mr. Kirk Kittell. Kirk has graciously accepted to do a Q&A with us on what we can anticipate from the Board for the coming year. (PS - for those of you who are unfamiliar with Kirk, not only is he known for his no-nonsense leadership style but also for his acerbic sense of humor that may be reflected below!)

Q. So Kirk, is the pressure on? What made you want to do this?

 A. I thought ISU*USA was doing well, but could be doing better. There is no pressure--this is fun.

Q. What are your major goals for ISU*USA?
  A. If you want to eavesdrop on our plans, we're working on our strategic plan for 2009 and its available at http://isu-usa.org/community-first-agenda/2009-strategic-plan/. The two biggest goals are updating the US portion of the ISU alumni database and commencing regular communications with alumni. If we do this succesfully, it should lead directly into accomplishing a third goal of supporting the alumni conference organizing team. We are fortunate to have SSP 2009 in the US this year and we will use this to everyone's advantage.

Q. How do you think ISU*USA can be more useful for alumni?
  A. At the very least, alumni should be able to find and communicate with other alumni. An email list exists, but much of the contact information is derelict. If we can maintain this infrastructure, then we have a product that can be used by alumni as they choose. If the economy seriously affects the space and defense industries, alumni will have a strong network to use if they are bounced from their jobs. If alumni are traveling or moving, we can make sure they have a community to call on for conversation or assistance. An alumni network should be more than a target audience for fundraising for the university, it should also be a tool for the alumni.

Q. How will your background contribute to your leadership?
  A. My background starting and running the Ingersoll Scout Reservation Alumni Association (isrstaff.org), where I used to work at a Boy Scout summer camp, is probably the most useful piece of experience. I think I've failed that group three times, but this fourth time is working much, much better because we started to understand that "If you build it, they will come," only works in Field of Dreams. That is, the existence of the alumni organization, despite how much fun it was to work at camp, was not enough. You have to have a clear purpose and you have to be persistent in communicating to alumni. Alumni have other lives and Alma Mater Studiorum is not a daily consideration in these lives. Once this is understood, you can get somewhere.

Also, I'm a compulsive organizer and an erstwhile athlete. I like to break big problems into smaller, achievable steps; I have the discipline to go from training to the finish line.

Q. What is your favorite ISU memory?
  A. First, I miss the friends I met at ISU. Absolutely nothing tops that. And sometimes I hear, "Prochaine station: Baggersee," in my sleep. But my favorite ISU memories come from the last days of SSP 2006. I was one of the editors of our team project report (along with Ashley), and it was very exciting to organize all of the many chaotic threads of research and writing into a coherent final product on a deadline. It was fun to work with competent and creative people in that environment.

Q. Two years from now, what do you hope to have accomplished?

  A. A lot of what we will accomplish will be setting the stage for the future. I went to ISU for the network moreso than the education; I was not disappointed by the education, but I was there to join the network. The network is OK, but the network should be better. More than anything, I want to have more people back in the network and make it possible for us, other ISU alumni, to communicate with them. Fortunately, I have a good board that can imbue the task of finding alumni with a purpose for keeping them in the network. I like the boring stuff -- systematically finding disconnected alumni -- but it will take the creativity of the larger team to make the network sustainable.

Do you know someone who would be a good spotlight in the future? Email us at board@isu-usa.org and let us know.

ISU in the News

ISU and Boeing Sign Five-Year Support Agreement

The International Space University (ISU) announced on February 16, 2009 a five-year renewal of a partnership agreement with The Boeing Company in which the aerospace giant will continue its strong support of the university's programs and students. In announcing the renewal, Dr. Michael K. Simpson, President of ISU, said the partnership "has been extraordinary. It has not only helped us fund badly needed scholarships, it has also enabled our students to benefit from the expertise, counsel and guidance of many members of the Boeing team."

"I am especially pleased," he continued, "that under this agreement, The Boeing Company will be a prime sponsor of ISU's Space Studies Program this coming summer to be hosted by NASA's Ames Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley."

Under the renewal, covering school years from 2008 to 2012, Boeing will provide $675,000 in support to the university, which provides graduate-level training to current and future leaders of the emerging global space community. "Boeing is honored to be a part of ISU and applauds the university's ongoing dedication to the study of space-related disciplines in an international environment," said Brewster Shaw, Boeing Vice President and General Manager for Space Exploration. "We are pleased that this contribution will enable master's level studies for exceptional students and will provide unique continuing-education opportunities to some Boeing employees," Shaw added. Under the agreement, ISU's main auditorium will continue to be named the "Boeing Auditorium." The agreement includes a philanthropic portion, plus a Boeing investment in workforce development. Each year, Boeing will send a minimum of two employees to ISU for training - at least one each for ISU's Master's and nine-week Space Studies programs.

Alumni In The News

Brian Weeden (SSP07) has been busier than usual since the February 10, 2009 collision of an Iridium satellite with a derelict Russian Kosmos satellite above Siberia.  Weeden is a technical consultant with the non-profit Secure World Foundation and specializes in space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic management (STM) issues. 

The collision occurred while experts were convened at the annual Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Vienna, Austria.  Secure World is a permanent observer on the Committee, and Weeden was attending the meeting in order to give a presentation on "International Civil Space Situational Awareness".  Calls for increased international SSA have been growing louder in recent years, and the satellite collision served to reinforce the importance that a civil SSA system would have, much like a terrestrial air traffic control system for aviation.

Since the collision, Weeden has been busy giving interviews, not only to traditional space media outlets such as Space News, but to general media such as NPR and Nature as well.  He also authored a detailed article on the satellite collision in this week's edition of the Space Review.  At SSP07 in Beijing, Brian was a key member of the Space Traffic Management Team Project (TP).  The purpose of project was to draft a set of technical rules for a potential STM system, taking into account political and legal realities and feasibility - aspects that prior proposals for STM rules lacked.

Weeden states that "The Iridium-Cosmos collision is exactly the sort of event we were looking to prevent with the recommendations presented in our TP.  One of the primary recommendations was a system to analyze, screen, and warn satellite operators about possible collisions."  The TP also recommended increased sharing and more accurate SSA data to support such warnings, and Weeden reports that their recommendations are being echoed by others in the wake of the collision.

Weeden already had a technical background in this area due to his prior job in the U.S. Air Force tracking objects in orbit, but Weeden feels that the interdisciplinary education he received at SSP07 has helped him better understand the policy, legal, economic, and public outreach aspects inherent in complex international space issues such as SSA and STM.  Weeden's ISU experience has been "invaluable" while writing, talking, and presenting on the topic of space security, SSA, and STM - something that he'll no doubt be called upon to do much more of in the near future.

If you've been in the news lately, or know of other alumni associated with current events, the ISU*USA board would be interested in hearing about it.  Just send an email to ashley.whelan@isu-usa.org.