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2018 Officer Candidates

Here is a list of students registered to run for officer positions as of October 29th, 2018 along with their statement of interest and their top three desired positions.

The deadline to register is October 29th, registration form is here.

Esther Putman
(1) President
(2) DC trip Coordinator
(3) Education, Outreach, and Social chair
As a student passionate about space based research and how it impacts life here on earth, my mission and objectives closely align with those of ASGSR. From my experiences, both with this group and beyond, I know that I can serve as an effective leader on this student board. I bring a diverse perspective and a broad history of leadership, and know that I can help this group define our goals and achieve them. I plan to use my vast industry network to attract more interested students, my organizational skills to help streamline how the student board operates, my passion for STEM and policy outreach to encourage more action on these items, and my skills as a science communicator to help share the mission of ASGSR and educate others on the value of space based research.

Andrew Pelos
DC trip coordinator
As part of the American space research community, ASGSR members are positioned at a nexus of scientific research and U.S. politics, and it’s imperative that we share our unique perspectives in broader political discourses. The society’s annual D.C. trip represents an incredible opportunity for scientists and students to engage directly with policy-makers as representatives of our current research priorities. After working for three summers as a physical and bio-sciences researcher at NASA Ames, I was fortunate enough to participate in the spring 2018 D.C. trip as a volunteer student board member for ASGSR, and the experience gave me key insight to the kinds of broader political impact I could have as a scientist. I hope to continue my work with ASGSR as next cycle’s D.C. trip coordinator, and to continue empowering and enabling scientists to share our perspectives in political spaces.

Nicole Beisel
(1) Education, Outreach, and Social chair
(2) DC trip coordinator
(3) Web and Social Media Manager
My name is Nicole Beisel, and I am a 2nd year PhD student in the University of Florida Space Plants Lab ran by Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul and Dr. Robert Ferl. I focus on studying genetic mechanisms of plant adaptation to spaceflight, which I absolutely love! I have participated in and thoroughly enjoyed several successful outreach events since joining the UF Space Plants Lab, which has motivated me to apply for this position. I am extremely passionate about science communication, and would love to put my enthusiasm for the subject to work by serving as the Education, Outreach, and Social Chair for ASGSR student leadership. Alternatively, I would be happy to contribute to the ASGSR student leadership team by serving as either the DC Trip Coordinator or the Web and Social Media Manager where I feel my organizational skills can be put to good use.

Brandon Califar
(1) DC trip Coordinator
(2) Merchandise Coordinator
My name is Brandon Califar, and I am a second-year student in the UF Genetics and Genomics Ph.D. program. My passion for Space Biology led me to join the UF Space Plants Lab, working under Dr. Robert Ferl and Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul, and I am interested in becoming involved with the student leadership of the ASGSR because I would like to continue as a researcher in this field after completing my degree. Getting an idea of what it is like to serve a society in this context, while also learning more about political advocacy on behalf of the space sciences, would help to direct my own future, as well as that of the ASGSR, in a small-scale but meaningful way.

Mallika Sarma
(1) Web and Social Media Manager
(2) Merchandise Coordinator
(3) Education, Outreach, and Social Chair 
I have had the privilege to serve as an ASGSR student board member for the past two years and from my experience over this time, I have learned that that the ASGSR student board is a critical component to the ASGSR organization and has made valuable contributions to how we interface within the space science community but also outside of it. I am interested in continuing my work in supporting ASGSR on the board through building on the foundation of our current stellar social media outreach and expanding our web presence. With my experience on the board and as webmaster over the past year, I feel confident that we as a group can build on the existing projects we have, develop new projects, and enhance student input to ASGSR.

Kaixin (Kai) Cui
(1) Education, Outreach, and Social Chair 
(2) President Elect
(3) DC Trip Coordinator
I have always been passionate about space research, and I have been fortunate enough to pursue my love of space through various opportunities in the past. As a third year in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, I have worked on various projects related to space on the science and engineering aspects. I also had an amazing opportunity to work at NASA Ames on space biology project. I would love to inspire other students to be as enthusiastic about space research and show the countless opportunities for them to explore the field. The Education, Outreach, and Social Chair on the ASGSR student board would be the perfect position to reach large audiences and influence students. I believe my background and passion will provide a unique perspective to the board, and I hope to contribute my knowledge and skills.

Jordan McKaig
(1) President Elect
(2) Merchandise Coordinator
(3) Education, Outreach, and Social Chair
My name is Jordan McKaig and I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying biology and international studies. My lifelong interest in space led me to the Space Life Sciences Training Program this past summer, where I gained valuable experience in research and leadership while immersing myself in the incredible community of scientists and engineers working in space and gravitational research. At UMich, I have been involved in multiple opportunities related to the mission of ASGSR, including a STEM outreach organization and being the science lead for a Mars rover team. My background in both natural and social sciences has allowed me to explore the interface between science and society as well, fostering an interest in space policy. I hope to apply my experiences and skills in leadership, organization, and communication to the student board of ASGSR.

Elizabeth Talburt
(1) Web and Social Media Manager
(2) Education, Outreach, and Social Chair
(3) Merchandise Coordinator
I am an engineering student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an army wife, and lover of space exploration and research. This past summer, I participated in the Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP) at NASA Ames. While an SLSTP student, I was afforded the opportunity to present my summer research at ASGSR 2018. I would love to be a member of ASGSR student leadership to participate in outreach and raise awareness to other future scientists and engineers. I have served as a web manager for a previous internship and did educational outreach for a local nonprofit; I would like the opportunity to apply the skills to ASGSR student leadership. The ASGSR community brings together diverse individuals who share a common interest in space research, which is a rich educational resource for those interested in the field.

2018 Conference, Elections

2018 Officer Elections

Hello students!

Candidate information for students registered to run in the 2018 election is now up!

The approach of the annual ASGSR conference means that it’s time to elect new student officers for the 2018-2019 year! Serving as a student officer has many benefits, including:

  • Travel assistance in exchange for volunteering at ASGSR 2019
  • Funded trip to Washington DC in Spring 2019, where you will join the ASGSR board members in meeting congressional staff to advocate for space science!
  • Networking and mentorship from ASGSR, NASA, and CASIS leadership as well as from professionals working in academia and industry
  • Volunteer and networking opportunities at other space-research conferences throughout the year
  • Flexibility to pursue education/outreach projects related to space science
  • Collaborate with a great group of other students!

This year, there will be a number of changes to the student election format. First, the number of officer positions has been reduced to six; but we will expanding the opportunities for students who don’t hold officer positions to get involved with group leadership by serving on committees or just staying updated using slack. Second, the officer terms will now be 1 year instead of 2, to allow more students to have a chance to serve. Finally, the vice president position has been replaced by the president-elect. The 2018-2019 president-elect will participate in the student group in a vice president capacity, and will take over as president for the student group in the 2019-2020 year. Since this is the first year for this change, we will need to elect both a president and a president elect.

The open student positions are:

  • President
  • President Elect
  • Merchandise Coordinator
  • Web and Social Media Coordinator
  • DC Trip Coordinator
  • Education, Outreach, and Social Chair

Additional details on the time commitments and responsibilities of these officers are described here: ASGSR student positions.

The student election will take place during the student mixer on November 1st, 2018 at the ASGSR conference in Bethesda. Due to time constraints, the entirety of the election procedure should take no more than 20 minutes. Candidates will be voted for in a ranked-choice system to increase the chances of getting matched to your ideal position.

To register as a candidate, please fill out this form by Monday, October 29th, 2018. Candidate information will be periodically updated on the website to allow students to acquaint themselves with the candidates prior to the election. Depending on the number of applicants, candidates may be asked to prepare short (2 minute) speeches for the student banquet. These details will be sent by email.

Thank you for your interest in serving ASGSR!

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ASGSR Student Panel at ISSRDC

The ASGSR student group will be organizing a panel of student researchers at the upcoming International Space Station Research and Development Conference (issconference.org). The panel will be a part of the University Engagement program, where university students from the surrounding areas are invited to take part in a free event to learn about space station research and network with industry experts. We will be presenting on our stories getting involved with the space station and advice for other students who are interested in space research.

Attending this panel and other events (including astronaut presentation, career panel, and networking reception) is free for university students, just RSVP!

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ASGSR Students Launch Slack Group

Hey students,

We are announcing the launch of an ASGSR student Slack channel designed for students who love space research to share opportunities, talk about their research, and discuss upcoming conferences.

In addition, this group will be used to coordinate student activities at the upcoming 2018 ASGSR conference in Washington DC. Students will be able to coordinate room-sharing, make plans for social events, and meet other student members all before the conference begins.

To be invited to the group, please send an email to students@asgsr.org, or use the contact form. For safety/privacy reasons, please let us know your age and school.

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2018 DC Trip

Once again the ASGSR students had a chance to visit DC for a political advocacy trip. While in DC, we attended a workshop entitled Congressional Operations 101, where the executive director of ASGSR gave an overview of how policy making occurs and how to effectively advocate to congressional staff. We learned the importance of both the appropriations and authorizations committees, and how to tailor your message and asks depending on which committee you are addressing. For this trip, our message was asking the appropriations committee to increase the funding for science grants on the space station from $19 million in 2018 to $125 million in 2019. This huge increase is justified because right now the space station is under-utilized, and the government has already invested massive sums of money into its construction and operation; and now just a little bit more investment will allow us to finally start using that investment. For the authorizations committee, we asked for legislation to include space research as a fundamental part of NASA’s budget.

We attended many meetings with political staff on capitol hill, including one meeting that was on the white house grounds. During these meetings, we provided student perspectives on why continued funding for research was so important. Some of the staff we met with were very well-versed on the issues of space and science funding, and others had no experience, so we had to tailor our message for each staffer. We learned about how the government works, including how the federal budget is set. The president submits a suggested budget, then individual congress people submit appropriations requests on behalf of lobbyists, constituents, or themselves. The appropriations committee goes through these requests and edits the president’s suggestions. Once this is done, the budget is presented to everyone and it is voted on.

The second part of the trip was attending the USA Science and Engineering Festival and volunteering there. The Festival was held at the DC convention center, and brought in thousands of people. We volunteered at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) booth. Student volunteers helped with their space virtual reality demonstration, where participants wear a virtual reality headset and use joysticks to fly through the International Space Station to find the cupula (the large window looking down at the Earth). The intended audience was children aged 12 to 18, though several adults also came to try the headset. The children were really excited by the demonstration. We also helped at the photo booth, where participants pose in front of a backdrop of the space station and were given free photos.