2019-2020 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.

 

Vote Here

2019-2020 Candidate Positions

 

Member at Large Candidates:


 

Mauricio Martinez Elizondo, Texas A&M International

I founded a SEDS chapter at my current university (Texas A&M International University) because I saw the opportunity to create a platform for students interested in space exploration and the space industry. Even though we are still a relatively small community, we are growing and I’m proud about the work we have done. Ever since starting a SEDS chapter, I have become incredibly excited to get involved with the space community and be a force for change. One of the changes that I would love to implement is to make SEDS an increasingly international organization. Since I’m located at the Southern Border of Texas, and I know several students in Mexican Universities, I would love to spread the word to Mexico so we can grown as a space community with our neighbors.

 

Obi Anyadiegwu, University of North Texas

I am a living testament of the beautiful way SEDS can enrich one’s life. I have always been fascinated by space but as a non traditional, minority student I never fully believed I fit into the industry, I always believed it was a pipe dream. Since joining SEDS ,I have been able to connect with like minded people who believe in me so much and pushed me to “apply for that aerospace internship” or “participate in that space challenge” or “run for that board position” I have been able to overcome my impostor syndrome and I got that internship, succeeded in that challenge and ran for that position. The positions of CoC and Member at Large allow me to pursue a mandate to increase minority representation in SEDS not just in terms of race but with regards to gender and major. I truly believe I can help SEDS become even more of a beacon for students of every background interested in space.

Treasurer Candidates:


Matthew Barr, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Hi, I’m Matthew Barr, a Junior Mechanical Engineering student from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. I am also the current treasurer of SEDS USA. Over the past year, I have learned a lot as Treasurer of SEDS USA and have had a lot of opportunities to learn this position well. Now with all of the knowledge that I currently have, I wish to continue in my role as Treasurer to push an initiative that was started this past session to develop a long term funding plan for SEDS USA to increase our capabilities as a national professional organization and our likelihood of longevity. I also wish to increase the amount that our chapters are supported by the SEDS USA through regional events to improve collaboration nationally. I believe that SED has an opportunity right now with the large increase in space throughout students all across America that we need to take advantage of to cultivate the ambition and excitement we all have for space exploration in the newer generations. By increasing our collaboration nationally, we all as a space family will be able to provide more experience for our members as well as provide more opportunity to have a large scale impact in the world than we already are having. Having been able to get into the groove of the job, I have big plans for our future and hope to continue doing a good job for all of SEDS cultivating its growth through building up our community and offering more opportunities to widen our skill sets. Thank you!

CoC Chair Candidates:


Megan Bennett, Virginia Tech

The driving factors of my platform are (1) Passion and (2) Communication and (3) Experience 1 . Passion. The reason why I am standing up here today is you. If it was not for individuals like Joalda, Melanie, Dan, Libby, Shreya, Ian and Genevieve, maybe even Mike Mongo, I would not be running for a position this Spacevision. 2. Communication. Within and amongst SEDS chapters, communication is incredibly important. There are a lot of successful chapters for varying reasons. I believe that opening communication between chapters can improve the organization as a whole. I know that exposure to new subcultures can have an immensely positive effect. My strategy is continue projects like Yuri’s night, DALI, ASTRANIS and Cubesat while improving communication between chapters similar to a mentorship structure. 3. Experience. The only reason why I have experience is because of my passion for Space Exploration and Development. On a SEDS level, I have led, participated in and engaged with the Student on Capitol Hill event [SOCH] for 4 consecutive years, co-founded the Society of Women in Aviation and Space Exploration at Virginia Tech and held the Treasurer position for my chapter. I have also had the pleasure of working with the SEDS USA Board Launch diversity team for the past SIX MONTHS working on polices to make every SEDS member’s experience is a better one. In short, my goal is to create sustainable projects that have a positive impact on every SEDS member. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ian Burnell, Virginia Tech

I believe I would be a great candidate for the Chair of the Council of Chapters because of my history with SEDS-USA, inter-chapter events, and my own SEDS chapter at Virginia Tech. I first joined SEDS in 2016 as a the freshman board member of the Virginia Tech SEDS chapter. My goal was to grow the influence and membership of my chapter, which led to my election to chair during my sophomore year. During my time with VTSEDS, we started our first technical projects, grew our social media presence, and got more involved in the SEDS community. Since then, I have held the positions of Secretary and Member at Large. After a year of being VTSEDS chair, I wanted to get more involved with the SEDS-USA staff, and took on the position of Social Media Coordinator. Since then, our presence on several platforms has increased dramatically. More importantly, I was able to meet and interact with so many of your chapters and see the wonderful meetings, projects, and events you all organized. From 2017 until now, I have attended 4 or the last 5 SEDS leadership summits, 3 of 4 SpaceVisions, and four inter-chapter events like Students on Capitol Hill to make connections with leadership from around the country. At each of these events, I hear the same thing; SEDS is not communicating well enough with its chapters. People are missing out on awesome opportunities and competitions, and I want to change that. My running platform isn’t just growing the amount of chapters we have, but to ensure better communication and cooperation between chapters and the national organization. I’ve seen the wonderful things all your chapters are capable of, and all of the opportunities many of you have missed out on. As social media coordinator, I felt that I was used as the primary source of information and want to change that. By voting for Ian Burrell you vote for a CoC Chair who doesn’t just want just SEDS to grow, but for our current chapters to flourish!

Obi Anyadiegwu, University of North Texas

I am a living testament of the beautiful way SEDS can enrich one’s life. I have always been fascinated by space but as a non traditional, minority student I never fully believed I fit into the industry, I always believed it was a pipe dream. Since joining SEDS ,I have been able to connect with like minded people who believe in me so much and pushed me to “apply for that aerospace internship” or “participate in that space challenge” or “run for that board position” I have been able to overcome my impostor syndrome and I got that internship, succeeded in that challenge and ran for that position. The positions of CoC and Member at Large allow me to pursue a mandate to increase minority representation in SEDS not just in terms of race but with regards to gender and major. I truly believe I can help SEDS become even more of a beacon for students of every background interested in space.

Secretary Candidates:


Bryce Clegg, Virginia Tech

Currently, I am the Secretary and Publicist of the Virginia Tech SEDS chapter for the 2019-2020 academic year. My involvement with SEDS began in 2017 on the chapter level, where I participated in activities such as rocketry building and Q&A’s with speakers that come to Virginia Tech. Recently, I have been able to attend the NewSpace Conference this past summer where I was able to discuss needs with the Board of Directors and other members across the country. In my current role, I have focused on file management using Google Drive and providing consistent communication using email services such as MailChimp. On the other side of my role, I also manage the Virginia Tech SEDS social media. As an individual, I prefer to avoid procrastination, communicate effectively, and make sure everyone’s voices are heard. I believe that proper team organization, discussion, and communication is what makes a team successful. I have made constant use of Google Suite, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms, however, I am just as comfortable when using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I am always looking for new ways to create effective team organization to boost productivity. As I am always looking on the horizon, I plan on attending Students on Capitol Hill this winter and becoming more involved with SEDS at the chapter and national level.

Eitan Lis, The Ohio State University

My name is Eitan Lis, and I am the former president and founder of SEDS at The Ohio State University. I have successfully transitioned from power and now I am running to be the next Secretary of SEDS. -SEDS Earth has grown beyond its infrastructure’s ability to support it. As organizations grow, total central control becomes impractical to serving the everyday needs of the chapters. It becomes necessary to divide the organization into locally managed Regions whose greater needs can be properly met by a central board group. -to increase our efforts in affecting space policy at Students on Capitol Hill, we should be using our membership and alumni to populate petitions and strengthen our political position. We should also be involved with civic engagement year round so SEDS can act as a constant positive political pressure advocating for space policy and programs. -I have been approached by multiple women who tell me that they do not feel safe in SEDS. That is unacceptable, even if it’s at a party. It is important for us to recognize that the widespread problem of gender inequality and related sexual issues exist within our organization so that we can address them. I am proud to be part of a team called social dragonflies working to artifically generate a sense of social awareness in an attempt to detect, or ideally prevent, those sorts of issues. -Students for the Exploration and Development of Space have been desperate for a working relationship with nasa since its inception. Not only do I believe seds is prepared with the technical talent and creative capability required to make this relationship valuable to nasa, I also believe that I am uniquely positioned to initiate it. By leveraging Ohio state’s relationship with nasa Glenn, and the quickly rising seds chapter I started, we can work initiate one of the largest student-led civic engagement movements of our time. Vote Eitan Lis for SEDS secretary!

Vice Chair Candidates:



George Sarkodie, University of North Texas

I George Sarkodie will be an excellent choice for Vice Chair. After attending IAC in D.C. this past October, I’ve realized how much untapped potential SEDS-USA has. As, Vice Chair one task I would handle is managing our annual Space Vision conference. Here at UNT I’ve created a superb conference committee and established a UNT fund with our Engineering Department for SV2020. Another task is fund raising for nationally, during IAC I interacted with many companies and agencies, mostly I found out many companies want fulfilling partnerships with SEDS-USA. I would maintain and seek out new partnerships that would give our students new opportunities. As Vice Chair, I would ensure keeping constant communication between the Boards of Directors and Trustees. I recently met with a few trustees, and I can say without a doubt having constant communicating with the them will be critical to the future success of SEDS-USA. I have taken a few business courses, so I’m familiar with some accounting practices. Yes, I believe I have proposals that would build upon what SEDS-USA has achieved thus far. For example, I personally have brought in 3 research projects to students in my department this semester alone. With my experience, I believe my proposals and additionally working in conjunction with other board members of SEDS-USA, we can achieve with great results whilst expanding SEDS-USA. Vote George Sarkodie for Vice Chair! Ad Astra Per Aspera

Anthony Razo, Redlands

Never before had I felt at home with like minded people, until I joined SEDS and attended this year’s SpaceVision. I get to hear stories of passion and drive from SEDS chapters all over the world, all for the love of space exploration and it only makes the flame burn brighter in me. I founded my school’s first science and engineering organization on three people and a dream of opening the doors of space to all. A month later, we became a SEDS chapter. Two months later, and we’ve grown to nearly 30 members with 6 currently attending our first SpaceVision conference. I learned that I can turn ideas into action and action into change, with rapid and steady succession, especially when it comes to breaking down institutionalized barriers and marginalization. Space should be for all, regardless of race, gender, or orientation. Through partnerships and collaboration with outside organizations, like the Society of Women in Space Exploration, I hope to break down these barriers by not only advocating for diversity and inclusion, but by implementing it. Change begins through enthusiasm and passion, and I believe that with my own passion, enthusiasm, and relentless drive for space exploration and equality, I can help SEDS USA reach new heights.

Chair Candidates:


Charlie Nitschelm, University of New Hampshire

Hi SEDS family! My name is Charlie Nitschelm and I am a current senior mechanical engineering major at the University of New Hampshire and currently serve as your Member at Large. As the founder of the University of New Hampshire SEDS, I have grown the organization from a few mechanical engineers in its first year to the largest, most interdisciplinary engineering organization on campus spanning 8 majors and 40 committed members, 20 of which are coming to Spacevision this year! Although my position as lead engineer has made me technically experienced in rocketry and manufacturing, the main lessons I have taken away are not technical, but managerial. My growth as a leader has pushed the group to become a family, and for the first time since I started the group, I am finally certain that the team will continue when myself and the founding members have moved on into the real world next year. SEDS is an organization I owe nearly all my happiest moments to, and as Chair, I will make it my duty to push the reach of the organization to more people and students and enable them to participate locally or nationally. By serving on the board already, I am experienced in the overall culture and structure of SEDS USA, and it will help me transition into the Chair role of the board seamlessly. I am excited for the potential opportunity to serve with the entire board and staff and continue to act as the connection point for all the chapters nationally and push all of us to work closer to the stars. Ad Astra.

Nicole Chase, University of North Dakota

Hiya, everyone! I’m Nicole Chase and I’m an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at the University of North Dakota, and I also serve as the SSPI Project Manager for SEDS-USA. I am an excellent choice for the Chair position because I am a compassionate, creative leader. I’ve lead teams to success throughout my undergraduate studies and my professional career. Sure, we were met with challenges and road blocks along the way, but we, collectively, worked together to solve those challenges and to push through those blockages. I want to use my leadership experience, having held 10 leadership roles, predominately at the board or at the executive level, to build upon what this past year’s Board of Directors has done so SEDS can grow not only nationally, but internationally. I want to use my networking, collaboration, and communication skills to build relationships with organizations and companies around the world to ensure that SEDS members get fantastic experience and support so, when they graduate, they can directly apply what they learned during their time in SEDS to create change. I want to implement changes that will last for years to come; I have the ideas, the drive, and the fuel tanks full of potential energy that is just waiting to be ignited. In conclusion, I want to push myself and the future board to aim higher, to go further, and to move faster because, after all, the sky isn’t the limit when you’re dealing with space. Thank-you for this opportunity. Ad Astra!

Megan Bennett, Virginia Tech

The driving factors of my platform are (1) Passion and (2) Communication and (3) Experience 1 . Passion. The reason why I am standing up here today is you. If it was not for individuals like Joalda, Melanie, Dan, Libby, Shreya, Ian and Genevieve, maybe even Mike Mongo, I would not be running for a position this Spacevision. 2. Communication. Within and amongst SEDS chapters, communication is incredibly important. There are a lot of successful chapters for varying reasons. I believe that opening communication between chapters can improve the organization as a whole. I know that exposure to new subcultures can have an immensely positive effect. My strategy is continue projects like Yuri’s night, DALI, ASTRANIS and Cubesat while improving communication between chapters similar to a mentorship structure. 3. Experience. The only reason why I have experience is because of my passion for Space Exploration and Development. On a SEDS level, I have led, participated in and engaged with the Student on Capitol Hill event [SOCH] for 4 consecutive years, co-founded the Society of Women in Aviation and Space Exploration at Virginia Tech and held the Treasurer position for my chapter. I have also had the pleasure of working with the SEDS USA Board Launch diversity team for the past SIX MONTHS working on polices to make every SEDS member’s experience is a better one. In short, my goal is to create sustainable projects that have a positive impact on every SEDS member. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Anthony Razo, Redlands

Never before had I felt at home with like minded people, until I joined SEDS and attended this year’s SpaceVision. I get to hear stories of passion and drive from SEDS chapters all over the world, all for the love of space exploration and it only makes the flame burn brighter in me. I founded my school’s first science and engineering organization on three people and a dream of opening the doors of space to all. A month later, we became a SEDS chapter. Two months later, and we’ve grown to nearly 30 members with 6 currently attending our first SpaceVision conference. I learned that I can turn ideas into action and action into change, with rapid and steady succession, especially when it comes to breaking down institutionalized barriers and marginalization. Space should be for all, regardless of race, gender, or orientation. Through partnerships and collaboration with outside organizations, like the Society of Women in Space Exploration, I hope to break down these barriers by not only advocating for diversity and inclusion, but by implementing it. Change begins through enthusiasm and passion, and I believe that with my own passion, enthusiasm, and relentless drive for space exploration and equality, I can help SEDS USA reach new heights.

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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