May 2009 Edition

ISU*USA Alumni Association      May 2009 Newsletter

In This Issue

Recent Events

ISU in the News

Alumni Spotlight


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

Next month, SSP09 kicks off in the US for the first time in over a decade! Located at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, ISU has planned another challenging and fun summer program.  In addition, the NewSpace2009 conference is being held at NASA Ames the week before SSP09 gets going (June 17-20) - and the Space Frontier Foundation is offering free registration to all SSP09 students!  They have also planned a SEDS-ISU networking dinner on June 17th at 7:00 pm in the Diamandis Building (ISU cafeteria), as well as a special showing of the "Orphans of Apollo" movie afterwards, at 8:30 pm in the ballroom in the Diamandis Building.  This year's ISU Alumni Meeting will be held at NASA Ames Research Park from August 6-9, 2009 - and this month's newsletter features an interview with one of the lead organizers of the event.
This month, the ISU-USA Alumni organization announce the opening of nominations for the 2009 Todd B. Hawley Alumni Award!  Todd Hawley was one of the founders of ISU, along with Peter Diamandis and Bob Richards. Todd was very instrumental in the formative years of ISU and is still remembered for his passion, intellect, and dedication towards the pursuit of international and peaceful exploration of space.  The Todd B. Hawley Award recognizes an individual who, like Todd, has pursued a vision of the peaceful expansion of all humanity into a space-faring civilization through excellence in space-related scientific, professional, educational, or political endeavors.  For more information about the award, how to nominate, and previous recipients, please visit the ISU-USA website.

If you haven't already, join ISU*USA's Google Group to keep in touch with your former classmates and other ISU alumni in the US!  Also keep your eye out for a new ISU*USA website, with some great new features, in the next month.

We will be soon be reviewing the ISU*USA newsletter, and would like your feedback on how it can best serve the community. What features do you want to see in the newsletter?  How often would you like to receive a newsletter?  Please send any thoughts or suggestions to

Upcoming Events

Space Frontier Foundation's NewSpace 2009 Conference

June 17-20, 2009 at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, in Building 943

More information on the conference's programming can be found at the website, where the latest agenda and press releases can be found.

ISU*USA Board Meeting

Sunday, June 21, 2009 at Daphne's "Party Room," in Arlington, VA, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Address: Archstone Pentagon City, 801 15th St., Arlington, VA 22202  (Go to the "Penthouse Level")

ISU*USA Phone Bank/Pool Party

Sunday, June 21, 2009 at Daphne's "Party Room," in Arlington, VA, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Address: Archstone Pentagon City, 801 15th St., Arlington, VA 22202  (Go to the "Penthouse Level")

We're updating our membership database and we need YOUR HELP to connect ISU alumni in the US into "the network"! So we're throwing a party to get this done! You don't have to stay the whole time and we will have food, refreshments, and some appropriately space-themed background entertainment - all while we confirm and update our contacts database through phone calls and emails. Sounds fun? That's because it will be!
Please bring your cell phones, laptop, and swimsuits if you please! RSVP to Daphne so we can plan the food.

2009 ISU Alumni Meeting

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

Further details and information available here.

Notify us of upcoming events by emailing information to'll post them here and in upcoming newsletters.

Recent Events

Thanks to everyone who was able to join for these recent events!  Please visit our website for full details of recent events.

ISU at the International Space Development Conference 2009

May 28-30, 2009, in Orlando, Fla.

ISU had a booth at ISDC 2009, with Nassim Bovet, ISU Admissions Director, and Steve Brody, Vice President of ISU North American Operations, providing information about ISU's newest offering, the Executive MBA degree, and attending the conference. In addition, former board members and alumni Will Pomerantz and Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, and current Board Member Ashley Whelan, participated on various panels throughout the week.

ISU Alumni Graduating in Spring 2009

Eric Aufderhaar, SSP08

M.A., International Science and Technology Policy, George Washington University.  Eric will be continuing in his current position as a space policy analyst for The Aerospace Corporation's Center for Space Policy and Strategy in Washington, DC

Stephanie Bednarek, SSP08

M.A., International Science and Technology Policy,George Washington University.  Stephanie will be transitioning into a full-time role as a government affairs specialist at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in Washington, DC

Mariel John, SSP08

M.A., International Science and Technology Policy, George Washington University.  Mariel will be pursuing a PhD in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and continuing in her space policy research and analysis position at the Space Foundation in Washington, DC

Peter Waswa, MSS05

M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Peter is seeking job opportunities in the space community with special focus in the Houston, TX Area.

ISU in the News

ISU SSP05 Alum Brian Shiro Selected as a Crewmember for 2009 FMARS Expedition

The Mars Society announced the selection of six crew members, chosen to take part in a month-long Mars simulation on Devon Island in the Canadian arctic. This will be the twelfth crew to inhabit the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), conducting a sustained program of field exploration while operating under Mars mission constraints. The simulation, conducted throughout the month of July, will provide the opportunity to conduct a range of research projects focused on understanding the technical and human factors which may be faced by the first human Mars explorers.
The 2009 FMARS expedition will be led by Commander and Chief Geologist Vernon Kramer of Del Mar College (Corpus Christi, TX), a seasoned mining engineer who has conducted exploration and mining development for multinational corporations in 42 states and 18 different countries. Vernon will be leading a highly skilled team of scientists and engineers. This will include Executive Officer and Engineer Joseph Palaia of the 4Frontiers Corporation (New Port Richey, FL), EVA Lead and Geologist Stacy Cusack of NASA JSC (Houston, TX), Interdisciplinary Scientist Kristine Ferrone of NASA JSC (Houston, TX), Chief Geophysicist Brian Shiro of NOAA (Ewa Beach, HI), and Chief Medical Officer Christy Garvin of Vaughan Elementary School (Powder Springs, GA).

"We have selected a terrific crew for this year's expedition," said Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin. "With this mission, the Mars Society will renew its effort to learn how to explore the Red Planet in the most Mars-like environment on Earth."

The 2009 FMARS expedition will continue the tradition of excellence in scientific and operational research set forth by past FMARS expeditions. The crew will execute an ambitious research program intended to provide improved understanding of how future human Mars explorers will search for resources via aerial, ground, and subsurface geophysical surveys. They also will conduct experiments studying the physiological and psychological aspects of human performance. The crew will perform repairs, upgrades, and improvements to the FMARS habitat, ensuring that the station will remain a premier Mars analog research destination for years to come.
You can read all about Brian's adventures at his website,

Click here to see the full press release.

ISU Addresses Workforce Retention

As the aerospace industry ponders over how to develop its workforce, the International Space University may provide part of the industry's answer. Steve Brody, Vice President of ISU North American Operations, addressed this issue at the AIAA's "Inside Aerospace" conference in May, which focused on the theme of "Building and Retaining the Aerospace Workforce."
Brody was part of the "Engaging within the University" panel which explored the questions of how today's college students are being prepared to solve today's global challenges and to be tomorrow's explorers.
During his presentation, Brody was able to share with the audience of government, industry and education professionals information about how ISU addresses these issues. His response included ISU's team projects that address a variety of global issues and ISU's 3 "I's", which help shape ISU graduates as they pursue their professional goals. Brody discussed with the audience that ISU provides excellent professional development opportunities that lead to strong and committed professionals.

For more information, click here.

ISU to hold SSP in Strasbourg and Stuttgart in 2010

The International Space University (ISU) will hold its Space Studies Program (SSP) in Strasbourg and Stuttgart, France and Germany, from June 26 to August 27 2010.

With the choice of both Strasbourg and Stuttgart as host cities for SSP 2010, this will be the first time that this prestigious program will take place in two different countries in the same summer.

"France and Germany have been active partners with ISU since its founding," said University President Dr. Michael K. Simpson. "We are particularly pleased that our students will benefit from this latest innovation in that long partnership."

To see the full press release, click here.

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 us an email.

Alumni Spotlight

Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher (SSP07) is one of the leads for the Organizational Committee for the ISU Alumni Meeting 2009: Silicon Valley this summer.  With the alumni meeting only a few short months away, Lauren took some time to chat with ISU*USA and tell us about the latest.

Q. The 2009 ISU Alumni meeting will be held from Thursday, August 6  through Monday, August 10 at NASA Ames Research Park. What activities and events do you have planned?

 A. The Alumni Meeting is going to be a great weekend that shouldn't be missed. It will be a dynamic mix of the traditional events combined with some new and exciting opportunties to reconnect with old friends and establish new ones throughout the ISU and NASA Communities.  Friday and Saturday are the principle days of the weekend.  We start on Friday Morning with a Space Leaders Forum where we have some really great speakers already lined up and a couple of more in the works including Pete Worden (Tenative), Peter Diamanis (Confirmed), Bob Richards (Confirmed), and Werner Balogh (Tenative).  Following lunch on Friday, we start with an overview of the International Institute of Space Commerce and then break out into a several activities including a Space Entreprenuers Panel, a tour of NASA Ames Research Center, a great Poster Session and Happy (two!) Hour(s) open to all ISU and the entire NASA community.  Then in the evening will be our keynote speaker and reception.
On Saturday we start in the morning with break-out sessions which are mostly self-organized. We provide coffee and snacks and the community are deciding what they want to do. Lunch is planned to be a BBQ combined with our the Alumni-Student Sport Match which is going to be Slow-pitch Softball organized to allow up to 60 people (men and women!) to play in a series of short games. There will also be volleyball, horseshoes, and music for those who don't want to play softball.  The early afternoon starts with wine-tasting where we have already secured two local wineries and are working on a third. This is combined with our Alumni Debate where two teams are debating for or against a resolution that was elected by the ISU Community. There is still room for two members of the debate teams, so please email us if you are interested.  Saturday evening will be the traditional Space Masquerade as our last formal event.  But don't forget that the San Francisco Bay Area has many great places to see that you and your whole family will enjoy visiting. This is a family friendly event and we invite you to bring both your significant others, spouses, and children.

Q. How many alumni have signed up so far? How are the demographics looking?
  A. Based on the alumni that have officially signed up for the tour, we have approximately 90 alumni confirmed including more than 50 which are coming from overseas. But we also have another 20 San Francisco Bay Area-based alumni, around 10 others permanently based at NASA,  another 10 summer interns from the Masters program, and expect around 15 more from the ISU SSP faculty and Staff.  I also know of many others who have said they are going to come, but didn't sign up for the tour, so all in all, I think we are going to see at between 150-180 alumni attending this event.  You don't want to miss it!  As far as distribution goes, we have several members of the first class from 1988 attending and many others all the way through the most current alumni.

Q. If an alum would like to attend, how do they go about signing up? Is there a webpage with information?
  A. We are still working on an official registration page but there is lots of information on our Facebook page, which has the most up-to-date information.  We should have the formal registration page up and running in the next few weeks.

Q. In general, how are things shaping up for SSP09? Are there any newsworthy developments or statistics that may be of interest to US alumni?
  A. The local organizing team run by Dr. Donald James just completed a Readiness Review with both the local NASA top management as well as the ISU SSP Director, Dr. Angie Buckley, and the review went really well. There are a few loose ends to tie up over the next month, but everything is looking great and Ames is ready to host a really great SSP.

Q. Besides planning for SSP09 and the Alumni Meeting, what are ISU alumni in the San Francisco Bay Area up to these days? Any community developments?
  A. There are about 20-25 local alumni, about half of which are permanently based at the NASA Ames Research Center. But in addition to them, we have a large group who are working in the venture capital community with specific emphasis on space startups. This is a really great place work and by coming to this meeting you might meet some of these people who could really be influential in helping you with your projects.
Q. As for you professionally, what are you working on for NASA? Does this involve any collaboration with other ISU alumni?
  A. Thanks for asking!  I'm currently finishing up an MS in Environmental Engineering and Science at Stanford and expect to start a Ph.D. program at Oxford in another year in Planetary Physics.  At NASA, I'm working on a project to develop the next drill bit head for ice/rock for a future Mars mission beyond the MSL/ExoMars programs.  The drill bit is expected to produce a small ice core that can be used with the same oven design and GCMS that was on NASA's Mars Phoenix Mission.  I'm also working on organizing a Spaceward Bound Science Expedition to the deserts of Namibia in October which is a collaboration with the newly formed South African Space Agency organized by another ISU alum: Peter Martinez.  I'm also heading up the Team Project for the newly formed Singularity University which will run concurrently with ISU this summer.  Of course, there are many great alumni based at NASA Ames permanently, so I always have a great chance to stay connected with the community.

Q. Any other words you'd like to get out to the ISU*USA alumni community?
  A. This is going to be a great event that you don't want to miss. We have many activities both traditional and new which will provide a fantastic opportunity for you to reconnect with old friends and make new ones to build your professional contacts.  We are really looking forward to seeing as many of you here as can make it!   This Alumni Meeting is going to be one that will be talked about in the years to come!  And how many times can you get away with dressing up like a space alien at NASA?

ISU*USA:  Thanks Lauren!  We look forward to seeing you and other ISU alumni at the meeting this August.

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.

Do you know someone who would be a good spotlight in the future? Email us and let us know.