Student Officers

Student officers of ASGSR help to coordinate student events including social events, educational and outreach activities, and more. Feel free to get in touch with us!

President

ESTHER PUTMAN

Esther Putman is a student in the BS/MD Accelerated pre-med program at the University of Kentucky, studying Biology and Neuroscience. After a summer astronomy program in high school, she knew right away that she wanted to pursue a career studying our species’ exploration beyond Earth. She began to explore this passion as an intern with Space Tango, a commercial company facilitating research on the International Space Station. As a Biomedical Research and Design Intern, Esther completes experiment planning, validation testing, toxicology reporting, and helps in the creation of cube labs for experimentation in low Earth orbit. Space Tango focuses on discovery of solutions in space for applications on Earth. She completed a summer in NASA Ames’s 2017 Space Life Sciences Training Program, conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Blaber. She explored bone marrow stem cell differentiation after exposure to spaceflight stressors. During this time, she also collaborated on a team coordinating nationwide stratospheric weather balloon launches carrying bacterial samples during the August 2017 Solar Eclipse. These samples were used to study potentials for microbial survivability in a Martian analog environment. Esther was honored to be selected as a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow, and spent her fellowship as an intern with Vulcan Inc. in Seattle, Washington. She worked on a project using satellite earth observation-enabled technologies to address large scale world problems. 

A 2018 Astronaut Scholar as well as a Women in Aerospace Foundation Scholar, Esther is excited to bring her passion for human space exploration to the ASGSR student board. 

President – Elect

JORDAN MCKAIG

Jordan is a senior at the University of Michigan studying biology and international studies. This summer, she participated in the Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP) at NASA Ames Research center. There, she interned in the Aerobiology Lab with Dr. David J. Smith studying how terrestrial microbes can survive in a Mars-like environment. She also worked with the other SLSTP students to launch a couple high-altitude balloons to investigate the impacts of wildfires on atmospheric biology. At UMich, she studies the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a hospital setting with Dr. Robert Woods, and also works on life detection techniques for her university’s rover team. She is so excited to be living in a time of such rapid space exploration and discovery, and can’t wait to see what the future holds as this progress continues!

DC Trip Coordinator

ANDY PELOS

Andy is a senior at Pomona College studying Molecular Biology and Gender & Women’s Studies. His first exposure to space-related research began during his final year of high school at the Laboratory for Advanced Sensing at NASA Ames, and his research since has focused on mechanisms of neurodegeneration in the contexts of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and of the spaceflight environment. He is passionate about mobilizing scientists to participate more actively in political discourse and is excited to be focusing on such organizing as ASGSR’s D.C. Trip Coordinator for 2019. He is always also working to create spaces of support for queer scientists, and he believes that the best science only emerges when our community is equally accessible to and accepting of all individuals across difference. Outside of school and research, you can usually find Andy exploring the local metro system, struggling to write poetry, or camping under the stars.

Merchandise Coordinator

ELIZABETH TALBURT

Elizabeth is an undergraduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in engineering with a minor in math (and a major addiction to Mc Donald’s). Although her academic field of study is engineering, she has worked in molecular and cellular biology research labs. Her focus is on the interface of engineering and biology, and how these two fields can be used to further our understanding of the mechanisms of life and create technology to improve quality of life for those with diseases and genetic disorders. Space research offers a unique environment to further our understanding of life. With a renewed public focus on space exploration, Elizabeth would like to be a part of the next generation of scientists and engineers who safely send humans beyond Earth.

Education and Outreach Coordinator

NICOLE BEISEL

Nicole is a 2nd year PhD student at the University of Florida in the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology program. She is a member of the UF Space Plants Lab, where her research focuses on understanding genetic mechanisms utilized by plants to adapt to the spaceflight environment. Nicole is fascinated by studying plants in space not only because plants will be a critical component to extraterrestrial colonization, but also because spaceflight represents a novel environment that plants are not evolutionarily prepared for. Nicole is also a secret lover of 90’s hip hop, and is weirdly talented at jigsaw puzzles. 

Web, Social, & Social Media Coordinator 

MALLIKA SARMA

Mallika is a 4th year Biological Anthropology PhD student at the University of Notre Dame studying human physiological adaptations to extreme environments. Her dissertation work looks at changes made in endocrine and metabolic systems during acclimation to highly challenging an novel terrestrial environments as an analog for future long-duration space travel and Mars missions. She looks forward to the growth of human space physiology research in the next couple of decades and but is even more excited to get the American public jazzed up about space and gravitational research. Mallika also owns an embarrassing amount of cats-in-space paraphernalia