January 2010 Edition

ISU-USA Alumni Association      January 2010 Newsletter

In This Issue

Recent Events

Regional Events Coming Soon

Alumni Spotlight



Happy 2010 from your ISU-USA Board! As we enter our second and final year of our term on the Board, keep an eye out for an ISU-USA alumni survey, announcements and events from your regional representative, and the election of your next ISU-USA Board of Directors.

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. We encourage you to sign up, and we also encourage feedback.  We want to make the ISU network better work for you!

Regional Events Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for ISU-USA events happening in regions across the nation. In an effort to connect alumni together, the ISU*USA Regional Representatives have been asked to help organize at least one event in their region that will help connect alumni in the area. As of now we have regional representatives in the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay Area,  Houston, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, NJ-NY-CT region, New Mexico, and the Denver region. For alumni interested in learning more (or better yet helping your Regional Rep plan this event) please contact your regional representative. For alumni interested in being a regional POC in their area please contact Daphne.

Los Angeles, California: Gina Pieri (la@isu-usa.org)

San Francisco, California: Yuki Takahashi (sf@isu-usa.org)

Washington, DC: Angela Peura (dc@isu-usa.org)

Hawaii: Brian Shiro (hawaii@isu-usa.org)

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut: Israel Ojeda Coronado (ny@isu-usa.org)

Houston, Texas: Alvin White-Orbaek (houston@isu-usa.org)

New Mexico: Luke T. Davis  (newmexico@isu-usa.org)

Denver, Colorado: Rachel Yates (colorado@isu-usa.org)


Upcoming Events

Hey, where are you going to be in 2010? Post events that you're attending to the ISU-USA calendar here. ISU-USA will help you find other ISU alumni that will be there with you.

27 to 29 January

Ryan Kobrick (MSS 2003) will be at the first workshop on "Lunar dust, plasma and atmosphere: The next steps" at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

1 February

Joan Johnson-Freese, a frequent faculty and lecturer at ISU, will be giving a presentation at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

3 February

ISU President Mike Simpson will be in DC. Meet DC alumni for happy hour at 6:00pm at AIA's Rosslyn offices - 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1700, Arlington, VA 22209.

10 to 11 February

The 13th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Conference panel sessions, designed to amplify the conference theme of "Igniting the Space Economy," have been categorized into three tracks: Commercial Space Technologies, Commercial Space Business, and Commercial Space Regulatory Concerns.

17 to 20 February

The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

To be notified of new events subscribe to the events feed at http://isu-usa.org/event/feed.

Recent Events

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

Alumni reception in Houston

On Wednesday December 2nd, the International Space University held a reception for alumni at the NASA Hilton.  Drinks and hors d'oeuvres were provided by ISU's North American Office.  The reception was held in conjunction with the American Astronautical Society Imagine09 Conference.  ISU alumni joined ISU Vice President Steve Brody, ISU faculty and ISU Board members to reconnect, socialize and network.  It was a successful event and we're looking forward to the next opportunity to connect ISU alumni!

Alumni Happy Hour in DC

On January 7th, the George Washington Space Society and ISU-USA hosted a happy hour gathering in downtown DC at the Rocket Bar. Approximately 30 GWU, ISU students, alums and friends enjoyed each others company and meeting new space professionals in the area over drinks and space chat to start off the new year. GWSS hopes to continue such happy hours in the future and will hope ISU USA and other space professionals in the area will make it to future events!


Alumni Spotlight

Friends, this alumni spotlight is on all of you. In December we asked for a one-line update about what's new in your life. Sometimes you get new jobs, move to new places, add new members to your families. Life gets hectic and we lose track of you. We hope you find some surprising news below.

We'd like to hear from you more often. If you're doing something unexpected or moving somewhere new, post an Alumni Update to the ISU-USA website (login required). Keep in touch. We love to hear from you!

Sheila Bailey (SSP 1989): Even though NASA isn't funding photovoltaic research - the Air Force is funding my quantum dot solar cell work.

Steve Berry (SSP 1992): I enjoy residing in St. Louis Missouri, working on Boeing's military aircraft and weapons system upgrades for the U.S. Navy, and managing a team of Retrofit Engineers who perform the initial validations of newly installed capabilities for their missiles built in St. Charles MO and for their aircraft deployed at Naval airbases in Kingsville TX, Cherry Point SC, and China Lake CA.

Valerie Casasanto (SSP 1993):
I've been working with Kenji Williams and an amazing program called Bella Gaia (Beautiful Earth)  [www.bellagaia.com] this past year and was part of getting these performances to NASA for Earth Day 2009 (see video) and the Earth Science Symposium, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0vWFQpMvNk.

John Crepeau (SSP 1989)
was appointed the Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho.

Tracy Gill (SSP 2006):
Building a lunar habitat prototype (for NASA, not for me), so look for it at Desert RaTS 2010.

Christian Hardcastle (SSP 2002):
Departed NASA after an awesome three years with the Agency as the Executive Director of Systems Engineering on the Constellation Program, to return to The Boeing Company and pick back up with that 19 year career journey.

Mariel John (SSP 2008) has just completed the first semester of her PhD in Public Policy at UMD, where she plans to focus her studies on Space Policy.

Kirk Kittell (SSP 2006):
I moved from Houston, Texas to Lowell, Massachusetts to work for Raytheon, so let me know if you're in town and we can go down to the rivah or hahbah or something.

Marcus Murbach (SSP 1992):  Developed/launched an innovative re-entry system called TDRV (Tube Deployed Re-entry Vehicle): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crfm7CwsXyc

Brian Shiro (SSP 2005): The past year has been a whirlwind of activity tracking the astronaut selection process, blogging from analog Mars, mitigating tsunami disasters, and experiencing my son grow from age 1 to 2; you can follow my adventures at http://astronautforhire.com.

Laura Swift Lind (MSS 2000): I moved to Logan, UT to start a portable planetarium program, got married, & formed a non-profit corporation (w/ some other people) for the purposes of establishing a permanent science museum and planetarium in Cache Valley.

Mark Tantillo (SSP 1996): Began 2009 as a Simulator Maintenance Engineer for Oxford Aviation Academy  in Oslo, Norway.

Erika Brown Wagner (SSP 2001):
Was excited to have been invited to her first astronaut interview this year, and congratulates the great new class of NASA, CSA, ESA and JAXA AsCans!

Ashley Whelan (SSP 2006):
  I changed jobs, from Space Foundation to BAE Systems, but still in DC area and love running into fellow ISU alums at so many of the space events here!

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides (SSP 2000) just bought a house in Takoma Park MD and was excited to see Yuri's Night featured in the season premiere of "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network and a record breaking 217 events worldwide!