Space Generation Fusion Forum Organising Team Members
More than a year before SGFF 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 fall. A big thank you to the wonderful team we have this year working towards SGFF 2020!
Manager and Deputy Manager
Tara Halt (United States)
Tara Halt currently works as an Aerospace Analyst at Bryce Space and Technology and lives in the DC Metro area. In her role, she is the performance reporting lead for the Space Technology Mission Directorate and she supports the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program at NASA HQ. Tara graduated from George Washington University with a Master’s in International Science and Technology Policy with a focus on Space Policy. In 2015, she graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Space Operations. Previously, Tara has interned at NewSpace Global, the FAA Office of Commercial Space, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Tara first became involved with SGAC, when she attended the Space Generation Congress in Jerusalem, Israel. Ever since then, Tara has been an active member of SGAC and served on the organizing teams for Fusion Forum (2016, 2018, 2019), and the Space Generation Congress (2016). Tara was recognized as a Future Space Leader Grant Winner in 2016.
Kristin Shahady (United States)
Kristin Shahady is a Systems Engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado working as a data analyst for satellite mission data. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics from Florida Institute of Technology. In 2016, Kristin worked for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control with a desire to get back into the space industry. She was accepted as a delegate for 2016’s Space Generation Fusion Forum which led to her job at Ball Aerospace. Kristin currently serves as the SGAC National Point of Contact for the US promoting more of an academia/industry partnership in space studies.
Previously, she has worked for the Kennedy Space Center’s education program teaching children about the shuttle’s history. She had an internship with Space Telescope Science Institute to work with top scientists in the ﬁeld to optimize the Hubble archived data. Throughout school she researched the orbital geometry of circumbinary planets from Kepler data. She also is actively engaged with the Society of Physics Students (SPS) helping with outreach projects and mentorship.
Dave Borncamp (United States)
Dave Borncamp is currently a Software Developer at Decipher Technology Solutions where he works on microservice development using mostly Python, Java, Scala, and Golang to expand the microservices offered by Decipher. His main focus so far has been on Natural Language Processing where he has prototyped, designed, and produced several services.
Previously, he was a Senior Research and Instrument Analyst at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) where he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys instrument team. His work mostly focuses on instrument calibrations to keep the camera and telescope producing the highest possible quality data. For his science, the main focus was on characterizations of Pluto and Kuiper Belt Objects. Before that he was at the Southwest Research Institute where he worked with Marc Buie and Leslie Young to characterize Pluto and discover KBO’s for the New Horizons Mission to look at after it passes Pluto, and continued into his graduate work in Computer Science.
Claudiu Mihai Tăiatu (Romania)
Claudiu Mihai Tăiatu is a Romanian lawyer, he graduated in 2017 from the Adv. LL.M. of Air and Space Law of the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), Leiden University and in 2018 from the International Space University (ISU) Space Studies Program (SSP) in the Netherlands.
He was awarded in 2017 with the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) Prof. Dr. I.H.Ph. Diederiks-Verschoor Award and in 2018 he was awarded at the Worldwide Space Law Essay Competition “Legal Aspects Relating to Satellite Constellations” organized by the ECSL, ESPI and DLR. He successfully completed several internships at the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, ESPI and UNIDROIT. He is currently an intern at the Regulatory Department of OneWeb and part of the SGAC Space Law and Policy Newsletter Team.
Viha Parekh (Australia, India)
Viha is a structural engineer working on the development of next-generation commercial aircraft platforms at The Boeing Company. Currently on secondment in Seattle, USA, she started working with Boeing in Melbourne, Australia. Upon graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2015, Viha was the first Australian to be named in Aviation Week’s ’20 Twenties’ list. She first became involved with the SGAC as a recipient of the Australian Space Generation Innovators Award to the 2017 SGC. After her first experience of the SGFF last year, she looks forward to another successful SGFF.
Simon Shuham (United States)
Simon Shuham is a propulsion engineer at Blue Origin helping to design the BE-3U upper stage engine. Simon graduated from Harvard College in 2017 with an S.B. in mechanical engineering and a minor in astrophysics and is currently getting his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Simon is involved in a variety of aerospace and STEM groups including AIAA, SEDS, Techstars Startup Weekend, Space Frontier Foundation, and Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Karen Rucker (United States)
Karen Rucker works at Ball Aerospace as a Radio Frequency Engineer in Westminster, Colorado. She is passionate about antenna design and space communication. Previously, Karen was a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow at HawkEye 360 and has also interned at NASA Kennedy Space Center and Lockheed Martin. She graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics from Texas Tech University.
Maureen McNamara (United States, Ireland)
Maureen is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Integrative Physiology and minoring in Space. She is also pursuing a minor in Leadership Studies through CU’s Presidents Leadership Class. Maureen is pre-med and plans to become a physician. However, after taking a science policy class through the program CU in DC, she fell in love with space. She now hopes to combine her interests by becoming a doctor and practicing aerospace medicine. As a 2019 Brooke Owens Fellow, Maureen recently completed an internship at the aerospace consulting firm Avascent in Washington, DC. Maureen is a Colorado native and is looking forward to helping plan SGFF 2020 and welcoming delegates to her home state!
Operations and Publications Team
Sara Legg Dopico (Spain, United States)
Operations and Publications
Sara Legg Dopico is currently a senior in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also working on completing a Technology and Management minor along with her aerospace degree. Through her time at the University of Illinois she has interned with SpaceX in their Flight Reliability and Dragon Structures groups, Northrop Grumman in their Infrared Countermeasures group, and GE Aviation in their Mechanical Design Group. This is Sara’s first year as a part of SGAC and she is extremely excited to help coordinate SGFF 2020!
Programs Coordinator Team
Tasman Powis (Australia, United Kingdom)
Tasman is an Australian expat, currently completing his PhD at Princeton University within the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His research focus is on the physics of fusion energy and the modelling of advanced spacecraft propulsion concepts. He is also involved in researching the regulations and policy regarding the use of nuclear power and propulsion systems in outer space, with the aim of motivating their peaceful, safe and reliable application. Tasman is a long time SGAC member and since his first SGC in Naples 2012, is fortunate to have attended numerous SGAC events. He excited to pursue another opportunity to give back to the SGAC community!
Ashwati Das (Australia, India)
Ashwati Das is a mission operations systems engineer at NASA JPL for the Europa Clipper mission. She graduated with her Ph.D. from Purdue University, focusing on blending machine learning techniques with trajectory design. She has also contributed towards mission design trade studies for the Mars Sample Return and Europa Lander concepts at NASA JPL, and towards mission architecture analysis with NASA Marshall. She is a passionate space advocate, and loves helping with and leading events in the community that create awareness of our space endeavors. She also finds it fulfilling to work with the younger generation to inspire them to join the space journey!
Joseph Levine (United States)
Joseph Levine is a Data Science Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, based in Washington, DC. During his studies at the University of St. Andrews, Joseph traveled with the State Department to Kolkata, India to learn Bangla before graduating with a first class degree in economics. He also has continued work with an NGO that applies telecommunications and cashless banking inside Afghan rural communities. Joseph joined SGAC in 2017, and served on the SGC 2019 logistics team, in Washington DC. In early 2019, Joseph was awarded the Patti Grace Smith Scholarship for promising young professionals in the commercial space industry.
Manwei Chan (United States)
Manwei is an NSF Fellow and PhD Candidate in Aerospace Engineering at MIT. He wants to mature the commercial space ecosystem, eventually allowing more people and projects to utilize space. For his Master’s degree, he wrote a guidance algorithm that would allow satellite servicing vehicles to dock with a tumbling object. While in graduate school, he consulted for OrbitFab, a start-up working to establish an in-space gas station infrastructure. He is also a 2019 Matthew Isakowitz Fellow, and while at NanoRacks, developed strategies for commercial space station applications. Outside of academics he is involved with STEM outreach, running the MIT Space Seminar and other events to get the community excited about space. In his free time, he likes to ski, hike, and play football (soccer).
Alex Drozda (United States)
Alex Drozda is a project manager at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he manages a group hiring engineering students to complete research equipment development for labs on campus and prototypes for industry. This position allows him to actively work as manager, designer, and educator, and he thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to help students learn practical skills and gain work experience. He also engages in business development for the group, building networks to find new customers and recruit skilled students; it’s almost like running a mini-startup. Alex graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Robotics from UNL, and gained experience through research opportunities and internships at NASA Ames Research Center and Masten Space Systems. Those internships allowed him to take several multi-day road trips across the country solo, and he enjoys hiking, reading, rock-climbing, swing dancing, organizing community events, and philosophizing whether ketchup counts as a fruit smoothie.
Brian Kester (United States)
Brian Kester is a Major in the United States Air Force, currently serving as a Deputy Program Manager in the Directorate of Special Programs at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, California. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering from the Air Force Academy, a Master’s degree in International Science and Technology Policy with an emphasis in Space Policy from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and a Master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Previous assignments include the National Air and Space Intelligence Center as an all-source intelligence analyst and teaching astronautical engineering and space operations classes at the Air Force Academy. During his off-duty time, he is a husband, father of three, and the Founder and President of the Falcon Theater Foundation, which is a non-profit organization supporting theatrical arts at the Air Force Academy.
Mclee Kerolle (United States)
Mclee (pronounced Mac-lee) Kerolle is a graduate of the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University where he wrote his Masters thesis on the regulation of commercial spaceports worldwide. He worked at the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) where his responsibilities focused on researching third party liability issues associated with commercial human spaceflight. In addition, he has served as the Executive Secretary for the Space Generation Advisory Council and as rapporteur for the 54th Session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. While he is awaiting bar admission, Mclee recently started a position as a contributing writer for Astroprenuers and is assisting the Institute of Caribbean Studies in developing a Caribbean space agenda.