2018-2019 Board of Directors

Service on the Board of Directors is a unique opportunity to impact the future of space exploration and development. You will work with students from across the country who share your passion for all things space. Every officer’s duties center around connecting chapters, working with industry to create professional opportunities, and spread enthusiasm and knowledge about the journey into the final frontier. As an entirely student-run, volunteer organization, it is upon this leadership that SEDS continues to thrive and grow.

The SEDS-USA Board of Directors consists of seven officers elected by the Council of Chapters (CoC) from among the SEDS student membership. Every active chapter has one vote, which is cast by their CoC representative. While elections take place at the annual SpaceVision conference, attendance is not required to run or for a chapter to have its vote counted.

2018 Candidate Positions

Chair Candidates:


Daniel Hirst

In the past year as Treasurer of SEDS, I believe I have shown myself to be a reliable and hardworking leader. I helped reinvest the endowment, legitimised our taxes and helped budget all of SEDS’ programs and competitions. Beyond my job description, I have worked on new competition ideas, helped professionalise a lot of our backend, and have co-led the organisation of SpaceVision for the past 2 months. As a consequence of my role, I now understand fully the inner working of the national organisation and have developed great working relationships with the people who help run it.

I have a strong vision for the future of SEDS, and wholeheartedly believe I can effectively realise these goals as Chair. I want to formalise and develop relationship with more organisations, including NASA. I want to increase the communication between the national board and individual members. I also have been working on a space job site that I want to continue and complete.

My past year has allowed me to prove myself as a reliable candidate. I am incredibly excited for the next year of SEDS and would love to help lead us to new heights.

Elizabeth (Libby) Loyd

Approaching my 6th and final SpaceVision as a student, I am excited and eager to take the next step with SEDS. I have tremendous passion, dedication, and respect for our organization. In 2015 I founded the University of Oklahoma SEDS and actively serve as chapter president, after spending 2 years as a member of the Arizona State Chapter. For the past two years, I have served as the Alumni Coordinator for nationals, resulting in an increase in alumni contributions and attendance to SEDS related functions. I believe there is a lot of growth to be had within SEDS-USA. As chair, I would like to increase chapter communication, increase relations with smaller chapters, improve outreach projects, and increase the distribution and dollar amount of chapter grants. I would increase communication by holding weekly board meetings and bi-weekly board AND staff meetings. As a current staff member, I have been included in board conversations twice in my two years as alumni coordinator. Communication can also be increased digitally with more interaction through social media platforms. Smaller chapters with 15 or fewer members should not be held to the same dues requirements as a chapter with 100+ members. I would like to introduce an idea of a “tax bracket” system (through organizational consent) to allow us to serve chapter needs of all sizes. Hypothetically, a chapter with 15 or fewer members required to pay $35 a year, 16-50 members $50 a year, and $100 a year for chapters with 100+ members. Providing more emphasis on outreach projects, chapter events, and technical partnerships with commercial and government entities can boost chapter involvement at all levels. I believe it’s important to boost our chapters at the funding level to ensure their success. I would like to implement individual grants for outreach, networking/event, and technical projects. Given the success of the 2018 SpaceVision grants, I would wholeheartedly like to continue and improve this new SEDS tradition. I plan to accomplish all of this by utilizing and expanding my existing industry connections and SEDS partnerships. This organization has shaped my life and my future. I have poured my heart and soul into this organization, and by keeping my word and commitments, as your Chair, I honestly believe I can enhance the SEDS experience for every and all active members. SEDS has been a major factor in advancing students careers and personal growth, and I am eager to expand and develop our Space Family.

Charlie Nitschelm

I founded the first SEDS organization in New Hampshire during the Spring of 2017 with the goal to inspire my peers with space exploration. Since our first meeting of 12 prospective members, we have grown to the biggest engineering organization at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) including 28 students from 6 different majors. We self-taught ourselves the art of high power rocketry with the drive of competing in the University Student Rocketry Competition during the Fall of 2018. With an unbelievable amount of hard work, we successfully launched a two-stage carbon fiber rocket to 2,200 meters!

From experiencing the formation of a new SEDS organization, I believe I have an introspective on the inner-struggles of starting a successful chapter. As chair of the SEDS board of directors I will be able to apply my entrepreneurship-drive to further our reach as a nation-wide organization. Our country has space exploration ingrained in its culture, and SEDS has the position to inspire the future engineers and scientists of tomorrow. It took me till the end of my freshman year at university to have heard of SEDS. I believe that I can lead efforts to raise awareness to the younger generation and increase our influence among other students. With a bigger community of space enthusiasts, we have the organizational resources for greater SEDS-sponsored events. For an organization with such a strong, inspired student base, I can help create more frequent, stronger connections among chapters and the community.

Vice Chair Candidates:

Melanie Crowson

I am the perfect candidate for this position because of the leadership skills that I have developed during my time as President, Vice President, and CoC Representative, in the chapter at American Public University, and from having worked in a planetarium for 7 years. These are the foundational roles that have refined my capabilities to solve problems, manage and initiate projects, lead meetings and to resolve conflicts among diverse teams, ensuring that we came out more unified than before. I led the charge for several of our chapter’s projects including the meteor data collection, logo development, and galaxy observations. The type of role in which I shine is one where I can assist or lead others, while being the team mate that my superiors can depend upon.

In this position it will be my goal to foster inter-chapter relations and to ensure that efficient communication reaches all corners of our national organization while expanding our resources to help us grow. If elected, I will not let you down, and to the other board members I will always have your back.

My passion for space and the people here inspires me to do more, work harder, and strive to be the best. Since the moment that I joined SEDS my enthusiasm has only grown as I have found it to be supportive, educational, and engaging beyond what I imagined. I hope to raise the bar even higher on the national board.
Ad Astra

Treasurer Candidates:

Daniel Berry

Hello! My name is Dan Berry and you should vote for me as the next SEDS National Treasurer position! I am running for treasurer because I am excited for the future of SEDS and I believe I am the most experienced person for the job. A little about me, I am a sophomore computer science major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Navy ROTC unit there. This is my second year in the SEDS chapter at UNC and I am a mentor for our new propulsion team. What accounting experience do I have? Since high school, I have worked for a non-profit helping attain its 501c-3 nonprofit status, work with donors and manage fundraising projects. Additionally, as a part of Navy ROTC I have held an assistant role to the treasurer managing all of our account expenditures and building an annual budget, all the while balancing University and DoD regulations. As SEDS treasurer it would be my main goal to give chapters more opportunities and resources to go where they want in space.

If you don’t want to vote me for treasurer, consider me for SEDS Member at Large! I am persistent and I want to bring my time, talents, and creativity to work for your chapters. I want to take SEDS new places expanding membership and events. As Member at Large my project would be to bring more corporate partnerships with SEDS chapters providing projects, mentorship, and funding.

Rocky D. Kimbrell II

As Founder & Director of Operations for SEDS-ASU Rocketry Division I have had to wear many hats, one of which was managing funds and obtaining sponsorships. Being that we were founded as a Chapter on February 1st, 2018, we didn’t have the privilege of having an established Treasurer. This meant that one of us had to step up and lead the way forward so our chapter would succeed financially. Being that I have an extensive background in sponsorship management and event coordinating I stepped up to the challenge for our Chapter. Over the past year we have acquired over $35,000 in sponsorships and grants to fund our projects and have managed these funds well enough to see our projects through without shortage of funding.

Prior to taking on financial responsibilities of SEDS-ASU Rocketry Division, as I worked in the event industry I had acquired and managed event sponsorships in the range of $250,000-$300,000 per a year. My job required that I establish a venue location, catering, marketing and lodging for each event. These events brought in an attendance of 10,000-20,000 people per an event and was expected to responsible for funds from entrance fees.

I hope to gain your vote for Treasurer so that I may continue on with the amazing work that our current Treasurer, Dan Hirst, has done over the past year. I also would like to reach out for additional funding for our Organization so that we may increase the amounts in grant funding, have more monetary awards for chapters at SpaceVision, and create a safety net of excess funding for many years to come.

Thank you in advance for your support and Ad Astra!

Secretary Candidates:

Morgan Kainu

As founder of the SEDS University of North Texas (UNT) Chapter, I have a passion and dedication to the sharing and building of knowledge and skills pertaining to outer space. When first arriving at UNT, I was sad to learn that there was no organization, on campus, that promoted student involvement in the outer space community. Upon learning about SEDS-USA, I reached out to the CoC at the time to initiate a Chapter and spread word and induce excitement, for outer space, within students on campus. Since our establishment, I have worked alongside equally as passionate peers to advance our knowledge and actively participate within the outer space community. As the Secretary for SEDS-USA, I will pour just as much enthusiasm and passion into promoting the advancement and development of outer space and ensuring that all members stay informed and have the opportunity to learn and grow just as we have at our own Chapter at the University of North Texas.

Jessica (Jess) Maschino

I believe that having a good secretary is key to a well functioning organization. One of my most recent experiences was as a project coordinator intern on the NASA Psyche Mission, where I was responsible for not only taking minutes, but also tracking action items and their due dates. Through my experiences, I have learned to develop my organizational skills, the power of good communication, and would like to be able to apply it to the new challenge of serving as the secretary of SEDS-USA.

If I were elected, I would like to find a way to streamline communications between chapters and the national organization, as well as, work to provide the board members with all the information they need to stay up-to-date in all areas of SEDS.

Arsh Nadkarni

Space Exploration to me has been a captivating area of study as it poses the relevant questions of how and why things work, as they work. I have found deep fascination in studying Astrophysics, as it is able to provide answers as well as evidence to such queries. Each answer leads to another set of questions and this pushes the knowledge horizons further. This is what I have found appealing about this branch. During my growing up phase, I got hooked on to various infotainment programmes on the TV which provided me interesting insights about the Universe and its origins. This I believe laid the foundation for me to pursue Astrophysics as my career choice. Being an individual member of SEDS-India has been a fantastic opportunity for me, and it is helping me increase my networking and collaborating skills in turn with UA-SEDS and being able to work with other genius minds.

Chair of Council of Chapters Candidates:

Melanie Crowson

I am the perfect candidate for this position because of the leadership skills that I have developed during my time as President, Vice President, and CoC Representative, in the chapter at American Public University, and from having worked in a planetarium for 7 years. These are the foundational roles that have refined my capabilities to solve problems, manage and initiate projects, lead meetings and to resolve conflicts among diverse teams, ensuring that we came out more unified than before. I led the charge for several of our chapter’s projects including the meteor data collection, logo development, and galaxy observations. The type of role in which I shine is one where I can assist or lead others, while being the team mate that my superiors can depend upon.
In this position it will be my goal to foster inter-chapter relations and to ensure that efficient communication reaches all corners of our national organization while expanding our resources to help us grow. If elected, I will not let you down, and to the other board members I will always have your back.

My passion for space and the people here inspires me to do more, work harder, and strive to be the best. Since the moment that I joined SEDS my enthusiasm has only grown as I have found it to be supportive, educational, and engaging beyond what I imagined. I hope to raise the bar even higher on the national board.
Ad Astra

Arsh Nadkarni

Space Exploration to me has been a captivating area of study as it poses the relevant questions of how and why things work, as they work. I have found deep fascination in studying Astrophysics, as it is able to provide answers as well as evidence to such queries. Each answer leads to another set of questions and this pushes the knowledge horizons further. This is what I have found appealing about this branch. During my growing up phase, I got hooked on to various infotainment programmes on the TV which provided me interesting insights about the Universe and its origins. This I believe laid the foundation for me to pursue Astrophysics as my career choice. Being an individual member of SEDS-India has been a fantastic opportunity for me, and it is helping me increase my networking and collaborating skills in turn with UA-SEDS and being able to work with other genius minds.

Gautham Viswaroopan

As I am approaching my 5th year anniversary of being an active SEDS member, I cannot stress enough to state that SEDS is probably the best thing that happened to me throughout my university career. As a chapter leader (CU Boulder), I was able to not only get engineers together as my predecessors did, but expand to every possible major with over 150 members active in 4 large projects. As the current Chair of CoC, SEDS has been a priority of my day to day schedule. The statement I made last year was to expand SEDS to new horizons and infiltrate communication within our regions, bringing us together as whole. I can proudly state that I achieved these goals by fluid communication as chapters have begun helping each other without my request and just lend a hand to those who ask and that in just this year, I was able to amplify our international community and left a mark with at least 1 chapter per continent – a jump from 6 active SEDS international chapters to a whopping 20.

I remain determined to stick to my mission of viralizing SEDS and to bring forth the opportunity to apply our knowledge that we learn in class on projects and explore the unexplored. I would like to create our first international competition where we work together and even compete to not only build a resume, but strengthen our network. The mark that shall be made is being able to walk up to a corporation at any conference/ career fair, mention that you are SEDS, and the question “what is SEDS?” will never be heard again. Ad Astra per Aspera.

Members At Large Candidates (select 2):

Daniel Berry

Hello! My name is Dan Berry and you should vote for me as the next SEDS National Treasurer position! I am running for treasurer because I am excited for the future of SEDS and I believe I am the most experienced person for the job. A little about me, I am a sophomore computer science major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Navy ROTC unit there. This is my second year in the SEDS chapter at UNC and I am a mentor for our new propulsion team. What accounting experience do I have? Since high school, I have worked for a non-profit helping attain its 501c-3 nonprofit status, work with donors and manage fundraising projects. Additionally, as a part of Navy ROTC I have held an assistant role to the treasurer managing all of our account expenditures and building an annual budget, all the while balancing University and DoD regulations. As SEDS treasurer it would be my main goal to give chapters more opportunities and resources to go where they want in space.

If you don’t want to vote me for treasurer, consider me for SEDS Member at Large! I am persistent and I want to bring my time, talents, and creativity to work for your chapters. I want to take SEDS new places expanding membership and events. As Member at Large my project would be to bring more corporate partnerships with SEDS chapters providing projects, mentorship, and funding.

Ilaria Cinelli

Anything is possible! I left my Country because I could not find opportunities to get involved in space, so I have been through a series of different adventures to become what I am now. Dreams are a good starting point, but vision and goals are what make the difference.

Now, I have enough experience for advising, supporting and contributing in multidisciplinary projects and activities of the space sector. I won Awards, I opened new fields of research, I am an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, President-Elect of the Aerospace Human Factors Association, Commander of about several Mars analogue missions, working with US Navy, TEDx speaker, and more.

I have lived all around Europe and now in USA. The best lesson I have learnt is: “do not prevent someone from reaching his/her goal because his/her enthusiasm can motive you to keep going during the bad days, and space can be tough”. This is the reason for which I surround myself by people of different expertise, nationality and age. People with a genuine enthusiasm are the most powerful, productive and creative to me. Any opportunity is a learning experience of giving and receiving from both parts.

My professional ambition is to re-think the current medical system and boot it by using the advances of aerospace medicine. Living with dignity is not a privilege, it depends on us as researchers to make it real.

Thus, let’s make this World better, let’s make it all together!

Arsh Nadkarni

Space Exploration to me has been a captivating area of study as it poses the relevant questions of how and why things work, as they work. I have found deep fascination in studying Astrophysics, as it is able to provide answers as well as evidence to such queries. Each answer leads to another set of questions and this pushes the knowledge horizons further. This is what I have found appealing about this branch. During my growing up phase, I got hooked on to various infotainment programmes on the TV which provided me interesting insights about the Universe and its origins. This I believe laid the foundation for me to pursue Astrophysics as my career choice. Being an individual member of SEDS-India has been a fantastic opportunity for me, and it is helping me increase my networking and collaborating skills in turn with UA-SEDS and being able to work with other genius minds.

Michael Whalen

My interest in space began with trips to the Natural History Museum in New York. The countless hours spent in the planetarium, looking up, being flown on wild rides through the universe—past asteroids, planets, and galaxies—was all pretty unimaginably exciting for a six-year-old in a city where the light pollution is so strong you can barely see Venus. And, of course, as every young kid does, I wanted to be an astronaut. My dad and I would stay up to try and pinpoint the little speck of light floating across the sky that was the ISS. In retrospect, I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed than I was one night to see the fourth Boeing 737 cross the sky at just the point we hoped to see the space station, but nevertheless we waited.

The persistence I learned at a young age from these experiences, and the excitement I have always felt for space, have pushed me in all areas of my life to be a better person, pursue what interests me, and, as Peter mentioned last night, keep pushing for the things that matter to me the most, no matter what comes in between. When I found out about SEDS less than two months ago, I knew that this was an organization I wanted to work with, full of people like me, dedicating their lives to something greater than themselves.


Chair

A proven leader who has a well-rounded idea of not only what it takes to foster and grow an organization but also how to balance that with realistic constraints. 

Officer Duties: Chair of the Board of Directors

  • Lead the Board of Directors and SEDS-USA
  • Schedule and preside over regular meetings
  • Coordinate and manage the efforts of Board and Staff members
  • Provide vision for the future of the organization
Vice Chair

Someone who can take over for the Chair when necessary and be effective at managing the national team. In addition, this officer coordinates partners and sponsors in industry and beyond. 

Officer Duties: Vice Chair of the Board of Directors

  • Manage national fundraising, including for the annual SpaceVision conference
  • Serve as the face of SEDS-USA to industry and organizational partners
  • Ensure effective communication between the Boards of Directors. Trustees, and Advisors
  • Assume the role of Chair when called upon
Treasurer

Someone who really wants to learn about handling the accounting for a national 501(c)3 organization. This is an incredible opportunity for those business/finance/accounting students that are having a hard time finding where their skills fit into the space industry. 

Officer Duties: Treasurer

  • Ensure continuation of the organization’s nonprofit status
  • Manage SEDS-USA donations and spending
  • Develop and revise an annual budget
Secretary

A student with keen attention to detail that, beyond taking notes during meetings, will keep the national organization running smoothly and help to ensure the communication/preservation of information across the SEDS infrastructure now and into the future. 

Officer Duties: Secretary

  • Keep the machinery of SEDS-USA running smoothly
  • Maintain and reinforce continuity of information, including note-taking and file management
  • Track and manage membership information
Chair of the Council of Chapters

Community leaders wanted! The Council of Chapters Chair is the liaison between the SEDS chapters and the Board of Directors, making real the focus of SEDS-USA on the development of its student members. 

Officer Duties: Chair of the Council of Chapters

  • Organize and lead monthly CoC meetings
  • Distribute newsletters to and collect feedback from chapters
  • Facilitate interaction across SEDS’ membership and communicate their concerns to the Board
  • Guide new chapters and connect them with others in their region
Members at Large

Two passionate SEDS members with specific ideas and the drive to implement them at a national level. In addition to vision, a proven track record of successful execution is key. 

Officer Duties: Member at Large

  • Manage projects and events
  • Take point on new national initiatives
  • Support chapter participation in national activities

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