July 2009 Edition

ISU*USA Alumni Association      July 2009 Newsletter

In This Issue
Recent Events
New Website
2009 Hawley Award
ISU in the News
Alumni Spotlight

ISU*USA releases new website!

In case you haven't checked it out yet, ISU*USA has released a new version of our website.  The big difference: the site is built for creating and sharing alumni profiles.  Please visit and register an account on the site, or at least grab the RSS feeds for news and events.  If you are wondering "why" ... a weakness we found while refreshing alumni contact info was that fewer than 1 in 5 US alumni had activated an account on the ISU website.  A subset of those accounts had not logged in since 2007.  Another subset had never logged in!

With the new site, we hope to accomplish two things - first, help ISU*USA in refreshing alumni info, so you're provided with better info from your alumni network; and second, ISU*USA is responsible to the alumni, so your feedback will help us make a site that will serve you better than what is currently available.

Click here for a little more info about what we're thinking.  We encourage you to sign up, and we also encourage feedback.  We want to make the ISU network better work for you.

2009 Todd B. Hawley Award

The Board of the ISU*USA Alumni Association is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2009 Todd B. Hawley Award. The four nominees are:

* Lance Bush

* Ayodele Faiyetole

* Marlene Grenon

* Michael Potter

Biographies for each of the nominees, as well as additional information about the award, are available on the ISU-USA website. Voting starts today for these nominees and will end Friday, July 31. Alumni should send their one vote to vote@isu-usa.org.

Upcoming Events

Space Frontier Foundation's NewSpace 2009 Conference

July 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.

Notify us of upcoming events by emailing information to events@isu-usa.org.We'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.


June 16, 2009, in Washington, DC.

ISU*USA and the GW Space Society (GWSS) had an informal get-together on June 16 at the Space Policy Institute to toast the incoming SSP09 class. Old stories and words-of-wisdom were passed - everything from TP strategies to planning for U.S. culture night! One final tip, either plan early for the space masquerade - some folks even bring their costumes ahead of time, or get super creative - it's amazing what you can do with a garbage bag...?!! Good luck to all our SSP09 colleagues and see you on the flip side!

ISU*USA Phone Bank/Pool Party

June 21, 2009, in Arlington, VA.

Iron Man, pizza, beer and networking is how the ISU*USA board spent part of their Fathers Day on June 21. ISU alumni got together to help update the contact lists for ISU U.S. alumni. Numbers were dialed and new connections were made, the dialers urged ISUers to join the new ISU*USA website where they can update their contact information as well as find other alumni across the nation. ISU*USA is always looking for help to update our contact information, if you're up for reconnecting with other ISUers (either via email or phone) please let us know!

ISU SSP09 Opening Ceremony

June 29, 2009, in Mountain View, CA.

The archived webcast of the Opening Ceremony for ISU SSP09 and the newly-launched Singularity University is available online!

ISU*USA-GWSS Movie Night

July 11, 2009, in Washington, DC.

Over a dozen ISU alumni, members of the George Washington Space Society (GWSS), and friends came out to Rocket Bar in Washington DC on Saturday night, July 11 to have a few drinks, catch up with old friends, and make new ones.  The group shared the latest news and developments in the space community, discussed SSP09 currently ongoing at NASA Ames, and the new Singularity University.  Later that evening they headed out to watch the new sci-fi thriller "Moon," starring Sam Rockwell as a Helium-3 miner working in solitude on the lunar surface.

Please join us for the 2009 ISU Alumni Meeting!

This year's alumni meeting is just around the corner - August 6-9, 2009 at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA.  Over 100 of your fellow alumni have already made plans to attend, and we hope you will join them and the SSP09 class for a weekend of reconnecting, networking, and other activities!

Further details and information available here.

ISU in the News

14th Annual International Symposium - "The Public Face of Space" February 16-18, 2010 - Call for Papers

As many of you know, during each academic year, ISU organizes a three-day symposium as an interdisciplinary, international forum to help both the users and the providers of space-related systems to move forward from the discussion of problems to the formulation of innovative solutions. 

At each of the past several events, ISU has attracted close to 200 participants from agencies, industry and academia in around 30 different countries.  The next symposium, the 14th in this series of annual events, will address space promotion, education and outreach in a very broad way.  The symposium program will also include considerations of public awareness and expectations, as well as workforce development and capacity building, all with the goal of producing recommendations for ways forward towards a sustainable space program.

Further information will appear in the weeks to come at the ISU Symposium website.

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


Nick Skytland (MSS04)

Q. Tell us about your OpenNASA and Gen Y efforts? Why do you think these efforts are so important?
 A. The Gen Y efforts started in the fall of 2006.  NASA Johnson Space Center was working on developing communication strategies for public affairs and one of their target audiences as "generation Y."  We put together the "generation Y perspectives presentation" to help share a perspective that wasn't being discussed at the time.  Our goal was to start a conversation and give others some resources to have those conversations themselves.  OpenNASA followed shortly thereafter as  an experiment in open, transparent and direct communication about the space program.  We invite anyone in the NASA community to participate as an author on openNASA and discuss how we can develop a space program which stimulates non-governmental activity, excitement and inspiration, and which guides humanity onto a sustainable path into the future. We are particularly interested in writing on the real questions about how a large organization like NASA can successfully inspire, modernize and evolve to meet its mission.

Q. What reactions do you get to these efforts?  From NASA? From other Gen Yers? From the more established workforce?
  A. Overall, the reactions have been very positive from NASA leadership.  NASA is really committed to being the best organization it can be and is actively working to transform itself.

Q. NASA recently announced a goal of increasing their hiring of "fresh-outs" to 50% of all new hires for the next 5 years... what is your reaction?  Why is this an important goal for NASA? How do you answer critics who contend that this is age discrimination or a quota?
  A. This is a really important step to creating a sustainable workforce for NASA.  As you have heard, the average age of NASA continues to rise and this is a risk for the agency.  In the white paper on openNASA, we suggest that given NASA's demographics and its recent hiring freeze, it now takes a civil servant longer than it ever has to get real management experience.  NASA has an opportunity right now to affect its future and the 50% policy takes a good step in the right direction.  Although the policy focuses on the NASA of 10-15 years from now we are in some ways forcing a focus on people who are relatively young and we are therefore, at least in some way, prioritizing that age cohort.  But that's not age discrimination, it's just good planning.  There is some more good info on this subject here.

Q. How does/can ISU play a role in cultivating the next space workforce?
  A. ISU plays a really important part in cultivating the next space workforce because its develops leaders who think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and really envision a collaborative, open, integrated space industry.  This perspective is invaluable.

Q. How can ISU alumni support or get involved in these issues, either with established groups or independently in their own workplaces?
  A. ISU graduates can easily get involved in what we are doing - its about having a conversation and sharing a bold vision for the future of space.  Being a leader in space means being bold with your vision, especially at work, and more importantly opening up that vision to everyone.  Of course, we are also looking for contributing authors on openNASA.com who are willing to contribute their strategic, technical, political, provocative, and visionary thoughts.
Q. How has your ISU experience prepared you for the work you do now?

  A. ISU really helped provide me a global view of the space industry. The 3i curriculum taught me to challenge my assumptions about how things are done and to strive for a more collaborative workspace.  The international aspect of ISU was particularly important to me.  Today, when I think of the space program, I don't just think about what NASA can do - I think about how people around the world can contribute to space.  It's shaped everything from how I work and approach a problem to who I call when I have a problem.

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.