SGx2024 Organizing Team

Visionary Team Leaders 

Ashley Peter is a Technical Integration Manager for the Moon to Mars Systems Engineering & Integration Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In support of the Artemis missions, her office is responsible for the overall systems integration of the Orion, Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems, Human Landing System, Gateway, and Extravehicular Activity & Human Surface Mobility programs for deep space human exploration. She was previously the Moon to Mars Schedule Analysis Team Lead in the Program, Planning & Control Office. Prior to this role, she was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting data analytics projects with NASA and the U.S. Navy. Ashley holds an M.A. from George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a B.S. from MIT in Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and Management Science. Within SGAC, she has been actively involved in SGx planning since 2022. Ashley spends her free time playing golf after retiring from soccer and enjoys traveling, Formula 1, and trying new restaurants in D.C. (when she can get a reservation).

Sapna Rao is a Systems Engineer Sr at Lockheed Martin Commercial Civil Space located in Denver, CO. She is currently supporting the Cryogenic Demonstration Mission as the mission sequencing lead for the mission. She has previously worked on Artemis II on the Orion vehicle, the Human Lander System, and was leading commercialization for the Lunar Mobility Vehicle. For SGAC she has been on the organizing teams for SGC 2022 and SGFF 2023, was the team lead for the Space Exploration Project Group’s ACHIEVED project, and helped support a project on STEM outreach throughout Europe with the Diversity and Gender Equality Team. Outside of work Sapna enjoys skiing, hiking, Formula 1, and Dungeons and Dragons.

Future Space Leader Fellows

Manwei works with the US Antarctic Program. He is finishing up his first deployment at the South Pole, where he operates cosmology telescopes, and he is slated to deploy aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer Antarctic research vessel in April 2024. He holds a PhD and MS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT. His PhD thesis focused on responsive, remote sensing satellite constellations and his Master’s thesis developed a guidance algorithm for satellite rendezvous and docking with a tumbling target. Outside of academics he enjoys planning conferences and outreach events, organizing the MIT Space Seminar, MIT SpaceTech, and SGAC Fusion Forum. In his free time he likes to ski and play soccer.

Owen Marr is a Systems Engineer at Blue Origin working on the New Shepard program. He is dedicated to improving the accessibility of space through human exploration and commercial development. Owen works on several aspects of New Shepard including payload integration, astronaut devices, and mission development. He also works with the University Relations team at Blue to promote university collaborations and student recruitment. Outside of Blue, Owen is the Chair of SEDS USA’s Young Professional Advisory Board where he advises and assists the student leaders of SEDS. Owen holds a BSE in Aerospace Engineering (2020) and a MEng in Space Engineering (2021) from the University of Michigan. As a student he was heavily involved with SEDS as the SEDScast host and as President of the Michigan chapter. Owen served as a graduate instructor for the Aerospace MBSE course series during his grad studies. Outside of space, Owen enjoys boating, snowboarding, and playing soccer.

Program Team

Trisha Randazzo is an aerospace integration and test engineer supporting NASA laser communication missions LCRD and ILLUMA-T. She is also supporting the early stages of I&T for NASA’s Dragonfly mission at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Before joining I&T, she supported two earth observing missions as a satellite simulator and operations engineer called S-NPP and JPSS, was the executive officer for Mars analog crew 184 of the Mars Desert Research Station, and flew an experiment on ESA’s Zero-G flight campaign. She earned her Masters of Space Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins, Masters of Space Studies from the International Space University, and Bachelors in Mathematics/physics from the College of Idaho. In her free time, she likes to volunteer, fly planes, exercise, and ski.

Amanda Nguyen serves as the Civil Space Specialist at Space Foundation, supporting the non-profit’s presence in the nation’s capital. Joining the Washington Operations Team in 2022, she supports the Foundation’s corporate membership and advocates for collaboration in the global space community. At Space Foundation, she leads the civil and commercial space portfolio with a diverse array of education and outreach initiatives to drive connection and collaboration among commercial, international, and government stakeholders. She has co-authored publications exploring the intersection of congressional trends and the dynamic space industry for The Space Report.

Prior to joining Space Foundation, Ms. Nguyen worked in the financial services sector, advocating the interest of state securities regulators at the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). She served as the subject matter expert on legislation and rulemaking related to financial technology, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and issues relevant to older investors. She studied at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from American University in Washington D.C.

Event Coordinators 

Alex Merker is a Senior Consultant at Guidehouse, where he supports federal agencies involved in the commercial space industry. Prior to his current role, he was the lead aerospace and defense industry researcher for the Aerospace Industries Association. Possessing a lifelong passion for space, aviation, and governance, he holds a M.A. in Transportation Policy from George Mason University.

Alyssa is a specialist and the global space team lead at McKinsey & Company. She helps drive the Firm’s space knowledge agenda, working with internal teams and global clients to deliver cutting edge market insights and analytics. Alyssa has over 7 years of experience in international security, having worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, CSIS’s Aerospace Security Project, and the Strauss Center’s Space Program. She holds a dual master’s in Global Policy and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Alyssa is a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar Alumna (Arabic), a co-founder of the Boston Space Network, a prospective member of the International Institute of Space Law, a St. Gallen Symposium leader of tomorrow, and a weekly volunteer at Horizons for Homeless Children in Boston.

Communication Team

Rayan Khan is a highly accomplished and dedicated professional in the field of aerospace and space education. He is the founder of Cosmic Tribe, an organization dedicated to promoting education and outreach in the field of astronomy and aerospace. He holds multiple prestigious roles and awards in the international astronomy and aerospace community. He is an International Astronomical Union Dark Skies Ambassador, International Dark Sky Association Delegate, National Node of International Light and IAAA International Association of Astronomical Artists Director of STEAM Outreach (DoSO). He was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field in 2022 by winning the International Dark Sky Association’s IDA International Dark Sky Defender Award. In addition, he serves as the Lead Head of Aviation School for Kids and Young Persons Committee Head of the Royal Aeronautical Society Pakistan Division. He is also an active member of Moon Village Association, International Astronomical Union, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He also won Karachi Biennale 2022 Langdon-Malik Foundation Performance Art Prize and participated as a panelist at ASCEND powered by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Las Vegas-USA. He was part of the panel session Innovative Approaches To K-12 STEAM Education & Outreach in 2021.

Hanzila is a talented software engineer and space enthusiast with a passion for astronomy. For the past two years, he has dedicated his skills to the space domain awareness field, allowing him to combine his love for technology and the cosmos. When not developing software, Hanzila can be found gazing at the stars and imaging deep space objects with his camera or telescope. His passion for space and skills earned him recognition as a winner of the SGAC STEAM grant at the Space Generation Congress last year. Beyond his professional career, Hanzila is an avid traveler and adventurer, always seeking new challenges and experiences. His zest for life and thirst for knowledge make him a true force to be reckoned with in both the tech and space communities.