SGC Organising Team Members
More than a year before SGC begins, there are people volunteering countless hours during their early mornings, lunch breaks, and evenings to put together the experience that you, the delegates and partners, attend every year. A huge thank you to the wonderful team we have this year working towards SGC 2021!
Kelsey Doerksen is a Space Systems Engineer and Satellite Operator at Planet, operating the world’s largest Earth Observation satellite constellation. She holds a Masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Western Ontario where she researched machine learning applications to space weather, in partnership with l’Observatoire de Paris, and a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering: Space Systems Design, from Carleton University. Kelsey has previously worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in the Machine Learning and Instrument Autonomy group working on future Mars rover technology, and is an incoming DPhil student to the University of Oxford’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems starting Fall 2021, where she will be developing machine learning tools to research the impacts of climate change.
Victoria Carter-Cortez is an astrophysicist and aspiring space policymaker. She currently works as a consultant at PwC’s Space Practice where she is actively involved in projects that support both the public and private sector in decision-making, space policy development, and carrying out economic impact assessments. Prior to this, Victoria was working at the European Space Agency’s Washington D.C. Office as part of ESA’s External Relations Department. There, she analysed developments from key space actors and worked to strengthen international partnerships across the Atlantic. Victoria carried out her Master’s degree at University College London where, in partnership with the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, she investigated Jupiter’s X-ray auroral activity. Opening opportunities in STEM, particularly for women, is close to Victoria’s heart. To this end, she has worked as an academic mentor internationally, sharing her passion for space and delivering interactive courses to engage and inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers.
Sabrina is currently working at SES creating, developing and implementing the environmental, social, governance (ESG) strategy. After her bachelor’s in Theoretical Physics, Sabrina decided to step foot into the ‘world of space’ by doing her masters at the International Space University and graduating with her master’s class. During her time at ISU she went to NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre to work on an Astrophysics project and later went to ESA/EAC to work on a project relating to radiation shielding of a moon base using lunar regolith.
She has experience in a range of industries and took on roles within data analytics to programme management of satellites and is involved in designing STEM programmes for young people in schools in London. She is the Alumni Lead for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the founder and local group leader for the Luxembourg Women In Aerospace (WIA) Group and a member of the IAF International Project/Programme Management Committee (IPMC)
Alimamy Lewis Seray Conteh is a final year student pursuing a five-year Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. While in university, he currently serves as the National Point of Contact for Sierra Leone at the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in support of the United Nations Program on Space Applications, National Outreach Coordinator for Sierra Leone at the Office of Astronomy Outreach, International Astronomical Union, National Coordinator for the Moon Village Association in Sierra Leone and also the co-founder and the Executive Director of STEAD Society.Besides, he was African Union Commission Youth Scholar for the 8th The African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology and organising team member for the 4th Africa Space Generation Workshop in Accra, Ghana. He’s also serving as delegates organising team member for the 19th Space Generation Congress which will be held in Dubai parallel to the International Astronautical Conference which is the biggest space event in the world. He has a strong conviction that we all have our part to play for the exponential development of the African continent and chooses to invest in the promotion of space issues and innovation via space technologies in Africa. He has worked extensively with STEM enthusiasts around the world to help raise the awareness in space science and astronomy in Sierra Leone and also introduce Space Science and Astronomy program in his university. He served as event manager for the Space week activity which is actually the first-ever space activity in Sierra Leone, by coming together to interact and offer solutions on how we can collectively inspire and stimulate interest in Space Science and STEM. He also championed a space workshop with Open Cosmos UK on Space Mission Design and Analysis and he was the event manager for the 1st Space Science and Astronomy Symposium and Competition in Sierra Leone. Through this platform he’s pioneering a strong group to promote and disseminate the benefits of satellite communications and technology to make Sierra Leone one of the African countries that will popularize the technology and use it in all facets of their development.
Chimira is currently working at the European Space Agency (ESA) as a Young Graduate Trainee in the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where she is also the main coordinator for ESA’s Young Professionals Advisory Group (YPAG). She recently completed her MSc in Planetary Geophysics at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Her work focuses on (peri)glacial Arctic environments, fieldwork, satellite mission planning, Mars-icy planet analogues, and remote sensing. Chimira is part of the SG[Canada] Organizing team and is the outgoing president of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS-Canada). She is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary and experiential learning in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) as well as science communication — she aims to cultivate strong/sustainable partnerships and relationships to help bring space & resources more accessible to other students and early career professionals!
Lama AlOraiman is a 22-years old Mechanical Engineering student at the American University of the Middle East. She is currently the Vice President of Ignition – Kuwait chapter of the Mars Society, and the National Coordinator of the World Space Week Association in Kuwait. Lama stepped into the space field in 2018 by becoming Kuwait’s National Point of Contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). This position opened the doors for her to be proactive within the space community by delegating in the world’s biggest space conferences annually, competing in global hackathons that solve real life issues using space technology, and organizing events both locally and internationally to raise awareness on the importance of space exploration. As well as utilizing SGAC’s seat at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) to promote the voice of Kuwait’s youth to the global space community. Recently, Lama was chosen by a Mentor of Space Influencers, Ksenia Synkova, to be among a dedicated focus group, and become a tutor for the first Space Influencer Mentorship Program, that has been developed on the base of her research: “Space Industry Lacks Influencers” that she presented at the International Astronautical Congress 2020.
Since her bachelor’s degree in service management (2014), focusing on media and communication management, Ayla worked as a communicator and mediator in publishing and in the event business. She has always had a love for space, but it seemed to be something of dreams, science fiction, or else, the realm of (“hard”) science people. Having returned to university in 2015 to get first her bachelor’s (2018) and then her master’s degree (2020) in philosophy and cultural anthropology, she found the disciplines of Science and Technology Studies as well as Space Humanities. From then on, it was clear to her, that she would advance the research concerning space and society and bring the knowledge of it into the world – to help others on their way from seeing space as fiction to seeing it as a reality that shapes our societies.
After completing her Bachelor’s degree in International law at the University of Strasbourg, Lisa pursued her studies at the University of Helsinki, representing the Finnish team at the European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. In 2019 she graduated from the International Space University’s Space Studies Program, focusing on the legal aspects of advanced space propulsion systems. She also finished her Masters in Space Law and Telecommunications at the University of Paris Saclay and currently works as a legal/business analyst in a space startup.
Wijdane Benani is the national point of contact of Morocco for SGAC and currently studies aerospace engineering at the International University of Rabat. Apart from her field of study, she is very passionate about community service, leadership, and bringing the benefits of the space industry and technology to humanity. From passion to action, she worked on different projects to include, inspire, and emancipate youth, promote SDGs and help to achieve them. As a well-organized, creative, and dedicated Space Camp alumni balancing between her engineering mindset and her devotion to empowering youth and impacting the society she is always excited and motivated to take initiatives and work with various teams on different projects. Wijdane enjoyed working on the organization of the SpaceGen United Congress a lot last year, and she is now very excited to be a part of the SGC 2021 Public Relations & Communications Team.
Louis-Alban is a 24 years old French student. He is currently pursuing an advanced Masters at ISAE-SUPAERO in Space Systems Engineering. He also have a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from ESTACA engineering school in France. He is a musician and played violin during 8 years when he was young. He learned communication during a one-year humanitarian mission in the Middle-East. He is passionated in everything related to astronomy since his childhood. He contributed to the organization of SpaceGen United in 2020. And more importantly, he is always happy to share his passion with others!
Oluwakorede is a graduate of meteorology with experience across the logistics, banking, and automotive industries. While in the university, he was a founding member of Space club in his institution where he worked on projects including the Global Space Balloon Challenge and volunteered at events organized by the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Center for Space Research and Applications (CESRA) at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). He returned to the aerospace industry in 2020 and is currently undergoing flight operations training at Javi Aviation. He is interested in researching the usage of satellite-based augmentation system to improve air navigation safety in Africa.
Hashmita is an Associate at the PwC Space Practice. She recently completed an Advanced Master’s degree in Space Applications and Services at ISAE-SUPAERO and has a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan with a focus in gas dynamics. Hashmita was the Manager for SGx 2019 and the Working Group Lead in the Programming Team for SGU 2020. She was a research assistant at the University of Michigan where she led a small satellite project and has experience in space systems engineering and project management. She has also worked for the UAE Space Agency on a digital technology project developing Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence experiences.
As a Project Engineer in The Aerospace Corporation Global Partnerships Department, Ashley currently works with and represents the U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) in developing collaboration opportunities, creating strategic alliances, deepening interoperability, and attracting new partners for current and future capabilities with international, industry, and interagency partners to assist with and provide advice on space systems and program architecture development. Ashleyâ€™s role includes recognizing partner assets that augment or fill U.S. space architecture capability gaps and recommending technical solutions. Her previous roles at The Aerospace Corporation include being an International Space Systems Analyst within the Strategic and Global Awareness Directorate and a Member of the Technical Staff within the Engineering and Technology Group, Space Architecture Department. Ashley has also lived and worked abroad through various exchange programs in Russia, Germany, and China to gain first-hand perspectives and a well-rounded understanding of the global space industry. During these various national and international assignments, she has worked on topics relating to international space systems, national security space systems, civil systems (human exploration/spaceflight & civil launch projects), space policy, satellite industry analysis, & satellite manufacturing start-ups. As one can see, molding her career into one that combines her technical background with her interest in foreign affairs & space policy is something to which she has dedicated much of her career thus far. Ashley received her B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from The George Washington University in 2011 and 2012, respectively. She has previously attended Space Generation Congress 2019 and SpaceGen Summit 2020, and she is extremely excited to be part of the SGC 2021 Programming Team!
Christina-Ariadni is an aspiring nutrition scientist, aiming to facilitate space travel. She completed a BSc on Nutrition and Dietetics Science from Harokopio University of Athens, where she is from, and is now affiliated with Wageningen University and Research, pursuing an MSc specialization on Molecular Nutrition & Toxicology. As an Education Anchor in the European Network of Dietetic Students, she has always been passionate about creating learning opportunities for everyone. Her vision of an effective space health system led her to the creation of SMLS’s “Space Nutrition” sub-group, that aims to offer learning opportunities and inspiration to nutrition scientists, and to demonstrate the potential of nutrition science to mitigate common health issues of not only astronauts, but also the general population. She is excited to be in the Organising Team of Space Generation Congress 2021, as it will enable her to contribute to an event that combines constant learning and space exploration.
Cody Knipfer works in the government affairs office of a commercial space company, where he is the liaison to Congress and the U.S. federal government for the organization. He graduated from McDaniel College in 2015 with a B.A. in political science, and with a M.A. in international science and technology policy from the Space Policy Institute at the Elliott School in 2018. Prior to his current role, he held space policy positions with two aerospace-focused trade associations — the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the Aerospace Industries Association — and spent time working in the House of Representatives handling a defense portfolio. He is a frequent volunteer for SGAC events. His most significant contribution to rocket engineering was assembling the LEGO Saturn V.
Mr. Rosseau is a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Los Angeles, where he supports space industry clients in the acquisition of space assets, business development, and business innovation. Prior experiences include space consulting in Washington D.C., crafting national space policy in Congress, aerospace startups, and astrophysical research. Mr. Rosseau was an honors student from a top-ranked college with majors in both astronomy and economics; his academic background has emphasized independent research on the commercial space industry, including being the sole author on publications awarded at national and international levels. He is a recognized leader among the new generation of space professionals, particularly for his deep knowledge of today’s space landscape, clear communication of complex ideas, formulation & execution of strategic visions, and leadership of innovative, high-performing teams.
Ani Vermeulen has been involved with SGAC since 2017. She was a member of the SGC2018 (Bremen) and SGC2019 (Washington, D.C) organising teams, and has also served as Deputy Manager of the 2019 African Space Generation Workshop in Ethiopia. She has been honoured with the SGAC African Space Leaders Award (2018) and the SGAC Leadership Award (2019), as well as the 2017 IAF Emerging Space Leaders scholarship. Ani holds a Master’s degree in Space Studies from the University of Cape Town (UCT) SpaceLab in South Africa. Her prior education includes degrees in engineering, astrophysics and space science. In 2016 she participated in the Space Station Design Workshop (SSDW) at Stuttgart University’s Institute for Space Systems (IRS) in the role of deputy project manager, specialising in cost & risk, on a project to develop a Lunar Space Station to support moon-based mining operations and conduct prototype manufacturing operations in-orbit. Ani has worked in Antarctica as a volunteer scientist/engineer for the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) on the 2014/2015 Summer Takeover, and has four years of telecommunications industry experience in business & systems analysis and process engineering. Ani’s current day job is as a consulting research engineer on a variety of telecommunications and space-related projects across South Africa, but she is aiming to make an international move to work in space mission design, mission training, or mission operations, with a specific interest in crewed space habitats or planetary missions. The coolest space thing she’s ever done was remote-driving the Canadian Space Agency’s Mars Rover through the Mars Yard in Montreal, from Cape Town, in a simulated 3-hour space mission. She has been obsessed with space since she was 3 years old and wishes she had discovered SGAC much earlier.
Sahith is an Advanced Master’s student in Aerospace Systems Engineering at the ISAE-SUPAERO (National Higher French Institute of Aeronautics and Space) in Toulouse, France. He is also doing his ITP (real-time industrial project) with Airbus Defense and Space on the topic “Optimizing the OneWeb Satellite Ground Stations Operational Availability using Model-Based Systems Engineering”.
Before starting his Master’s in September 2020, he worked full-time as an Aerospace Research Engineer in the Cube-Satellite Lab of the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST) – Government of Sharjah. There he was working on the development of Sharjah’s 1st 3U Astronomical Cube-Satellite named Sharjah-Sat-1, for observing solar coronal holes and bright X-ray sources in our galaxy, studies conducted in collaboration with the Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. He has also contributed to the building of the second UAE Meteor Monitoring Network, UAE MMN Yahar tower, sponsored by the UAE Space Agency (UAESA), and to the Radio Astronomy group on the UAE Space Agency project, named “Detection of Jovian Radio & Solar Emission at 20.1 MHz with a Decametric Radio Telescope Array.”
Notably, international speaking and achievement awards Sahith received for his work include: “24 Under 24 Leaders and Innovators in STEAM and Space Award 2020” by The Mars Generation (TMG), “Distinguished Speaker Award” from the IEEE – MBRSC Young Professionals in Space Conference 2019, Included in the “20 under 35 lists of the Space and Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) 2020 (USA)”, “Research Innovation Award” from the Alleem Business Congress 2020 – Government of Sharjah, Winner of the “2019 Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Young Persons’ Lecture Competition (UK)”, and many more.
As part of academic research, Sahith has published 32 research and review papers in various international peer-reviewed journals and presented 18 technical papers, receiving the “Best Paper and Presentation” Award for three of them. And as part of SGAC – Sahith is the UAE’s National Point of Contact.
For more information please visit his personal website: https://www.sahithreddy-aero.com/
Curtis is a young space professional originally from France and currently working in the Satellite Insurance business in Dubai, UAE. He holds a master degree in Aerospace Engineering from the EPF Engineering School in France and started his career in insurance as a Technical Analyst. He is now a Junior Underwriter for the world single largest space insurance pool at managing general agent Elseco Ltd. After being a member of the Logistics Team for the SpaceGen United virtual event last year, Curtis is once again part of the team for this year’s edition of the Space Generation Congress.