2016 Board of Directors Election Candidates

Here are the candidates for the 2016-2017 Board of Directors. If you are the CoC representative, you will receive your online ballots shortly after 1:40 PM EST.


Andrew Newman

I have overseen administrative actions to keep SEDS-USA a non-profit. I have also initiated and acted upon projects like creating an online SEDS-USA store, creating a member management system, creating a new website, increasing our social media presence. This past year we focused on a lot of internal growth and development, I believe we’re at a point where we can make that growth and development tangible to chapters. I have realized that a lot of the projects we host: rocketry, business pitch, etc, don’t have much of an impact on the average SEDS chapter or average SEDS member. I believe SEDS needs a solid cornerstone to grow from, and I believe SEDS does not have that cornerstone currently. I would like to make that cornerstone similar to the NASA microgravity experience that was cancelled a couple of years ago. I believe this, in addition to building a strong member management system, is the most important thing we can do in the near term to build SEDS further. I would also like to institute a grant system where chapters and individual members can apply to SEDS-USA for grants for chapter or individual projects or research. Our goal is to push the boundary on exploration and development of space, I believe the best way we can do this is through research and entrepreneurship. We currently support entrepreneurship, let us now support research.

Vice Chair

Olivia Scharfman

I am an excellent candidate for Vice Chair, not only because I have the passion, skill and energy for it, but because I have years of experience in creating and maintaining good relationships between organizations and individuals. I deeply enjoy public relations work, and, since I was in high school, I’ve been keeping productive relations between the organizations I am a part of and the public. From getting donations and mentorship for my FIRST Robotics Team to contracting speakers for Yale’s SEDS Chapter, I have always sought to build a network of support for student endeavours. Perhaps just as importantly, I am absolutely willing and have the time to take on the responsibilities of the Chair if needed. SEDS means (beyond) the world to me, and I would love the opportunity to serve and give back to the community that has inspired me.


Bryan Bayardi

I am a current pre-business student who has previously taken financial courses in engineering and is currently taking Accounting and business statistics. I will be applying to our finance program next semester. I have experience as a compliance analyst with the University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Service as well as experience supervising 5 cashiers as an Assistant Pool Manger in the City of Phoenix Aquatics Division. One of my greatest passions is generating success through efficiency and I would like to extend that to the national SEDS organization as treasurer.


Richard Luzader

My name is Richard Luzader and I’m running for secretary. I’m currently the secretary of SEDS UCF and I regularly take notes during meetings. Communication and honesty allows an organization to function effectively.

Christopher Bert

I bring to the secretary position not only my passion for space and humanity’s future in it, but an understanding of the organization and careful administration that underpins any complicated endeavor. Through many years of managing my scout troop and running band ensembles, I have learned the skills needed to keep a large group of people connected and moving forward. Though I am relatively new to SEDS, I am excited to get involved and help bring the organization to new heights.

Council of Chapters Chair

Emily Judd

As the current CoC Chair, I have had the opportunity to work with the SEDS-USA board and the representatives of the chapters. In this role, I have worked to improve communication channels between the board and the chapters. We now have a record of meeting notes and chapter updates from the past year, attendance records for the CoC meetings, and a variety of other resources now available to the CoC representatives. As SEDS-USA grows, I have been able to assist with chapter expansion efforts; we’ve added over 20 chapters this year! During my time as CoC Chair, I have learned to work with different chapter organizational styles and personalities to help the chapters as much as possible. The relationships that I’ve built with the CoC reps has encouraged me to reach out even more. If reelected, I have several ideas for this next year. The biggest issue is that our rapid growth is straining some of our current systems. I’d like to develop a CoC meeting structure that makes the best use of everyone’s time – whether that be moving to regional meetings or having more topic-based discussions could be determined with the input of the CoC. We also need to address the meeting platform as there have been issues with getting everyone signed in at once. I also want to continue work on establishing high school space organizations. Most importantly, I would like to continue work on re-establishing connections with some of our less active chapters and building them up.

At-Large Member (x2)

Mike Mongo

As author of children’s book best-seller The Astronaut Instruction Manual, my work is primarily space STEM educator encouraging young students to pursue careers in astronautics and space science-related fields. I evangelize zealously for the pursuit of astronautics and space exploration. My work includes encouraging and inspiring other teachers and science professionals. However, the time spent with students is my most rewarding. Complimentary to this, my background building such brands as proprietary brands as OBEY and The Ecko Unlimited Company. Finally, I am a co-founder of Computers For Jamaica. Our program has grown now to include Haiti and others in the Caribbean. I am an advocate for nature, health, human rights, and fair play.

Rachael McKee

I am currently the president of the Metropolitan State University of Denver chapter. Metro is a very diverse and spread out campus, getting members involved is quite the task. An approach I have come up with is rather than just publicizing us as a “project-based” organization, we have come up with our own space talks where engineers from around Colorado come in and give a little talk on whatever they feel is good to inform people on. Another form of general member involvement is through aerospace business tours that are around Colorado. Besides that, we have general meetings that consist of project updates and we discuss a current topic going on in the space news industry. I have been the treasurer of the Family, Community, and Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) at my high school but that was a few years ago; I managed our “chocolate fundraiser” that brought in a little over $4,000.00. Unfortunately that is the only accounting I have done personally. I have been thinking about a few things that could change SEDS-USA for the better. My overall theme is, promoting identity. I think this should be considered in two different sections; the present and the future. I think a good start for the present would be to get an online store up and running that would consist an array of apparel. Lets get the logo out there even more than we are now and get people asking, “what is SEDS?”. A relatively easy way to get this array of apparel would be through a t-shirt design competition with a simple rule like, you must have the current SEDS-USA logo somewhere on the T. There would be say, the top five best designs would turn into material for the online store. If you want to promote identity, you have to reach out to everyone within the org to determine what that identity should be. For the future, I see SEDS as becoming an even large organization with a larger pull on the industry than we have now. The idea is, how did we get to space in the first place? Through competition. Space Race! If we boost our competitions by increasing the rewards, advertising the hell out of the competitions, and adding another project or two we can create our very own space race at a younger age. Then the goal would be to translate that sense of competition and creation into the real world when students graduate they already have the idea that we need to get to space! As for the Vice Chair position itself, I am gifted with an amazing geographical location. With over 400 aerospace businesses in Colorado, it is very easy to get in contact with each and every one. Maintaining relationships with current sponsors is easy, you need to email them every so often and update them with how the club is doing as a whole. Tell them about all the new chapters that we have added and boast about the people in each club. As for sponsor procurement, because I am so strategically placed, I attend events like the National Space Symposium, AIAA’s annual technical symposium for the rocky mountain region, I am an active member of the Colorado Space Business Round Table and believe me when I say, it is easy for me to approach the CEO of Ball corporation (really cool guy), the CEO of Red Canyon (also really cool guy), the CEO of Oakmen Aerospace (another cool guy, obviously) and boast about SEDS, its mission, and every talented, creative, and inspiring individual within the org.

Katherine Denner

I’m keen on satellites and have worked on a number of different projects (prototyping power systems at SpaceX, designing sunshields for NASA’s JWST student competition, deorbiting with the Princeton Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab). I’d like to help expand SEDS’ offerings in the satellite field.

Antonio Stark

I have managed organizations from few tens to few hundreds and few thousands, domestic and international, engineering or otherwise. I have built the Korean Youth Society for Aerospace, the largest engineering student network in Korea, and am serving as organizer for the International Space Development Conference and Yuri’s Night San Francisco & Bay Area. My experience greatly exposed me to student initiatives in aerospace, which compelled me to create a SEDS-SK (South Korea) chapter. This national chapter is not yet published, and I wish to gather greater experience at SEDS-USA to be able to finish the process when I go back to Korea next year.

Ian Vanness

Junior Physics student at UCF. Immense zeal for any and all space projects/activities, going back longer than I can remember. Two time winner of the International Space Settlement Design Competition. SEDS-UCF Director of Activities.

Brad Foreman

Since I found out about SEDS only a few short months ago, I created a chapter at our school that incorporates over 50 members not only in sciences, but also in business, history, criminal justice and psychology. I especially recognize the value of multi-disciplinarianism in the space field and jave experience working to gather those typically less-interested. What I bring to the table is experience in the space field and a desire to connect that interest to those of non-STEM backgrounds to SEDS.

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