2019 Future Space Leaders

Tatem Burns has a Masters degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL and is in the process of earning doctoral candidacy in this field of study. As a graduate student, her passion lies in conducting research on individual differences, gender differences, and team composition. She conducts research for two NASA-funded grants, the work of which brings a multifaceted approach to understanding and optimizing crew relations in simulated space mission teams by considering the person, the team, and the context. Her paper at the IAC examines how crew differences in gender and personal values predict crew relations, findings of which can help inform team composition decisions for long duration space exploration.

Liz De La Torre has a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, designing vehicles and environments for feature film. Liz uses creative methods to imagine the future of technology in space. She is a Creative Technologist, MS Candidate and Research Assistant at the MIT Media Lab, hailing from The Studio at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where for 5 years, she worked on creative projects for various space missions and pre-mission formulation for future missions. Her current research examines the intersection of creativity and aerospace, and how creative techniques are of benefit to space technology innovation. Lizbeth is also a consultant with The Science and Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to create a synergy between accurate science and engaging story lines in both film and TV programming. This summer, she is a Graduate Associate Intern with Disney, learning from the Imagineering process and how it might benefit space. She plans on returning to JPL to support space technology innovation.

Conor Duggan serves as the Business Development Manager for Aerospace at the Washington State Department of Commerce, where he manages the state’s aerospace business development portfolio and is working to strengthen and grow Washington’s aviation, space, and drone industries. Prior to joining the state government, Conor worked for Moon Express and gained industry expertise in government affairs, business development, marketing, and communications. Combined with previous experience in international relations at NASA Headquarters and NASA Ames Research Center, he has become adept at bridging the divide between business and government in the aerospace sector. Conor also founded Project Human, a grassroots campaign to capitalize the letter H in Human in order to promote the idea that being Human is part of our individual and global identity. Conor earned a B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University, where he became passionate about the role of science and technology policy in fostering global peace, progress, and prosperity.

Tanya Harrison lives in Washington DC as the Account Manager for Scientific Users at Planet Federal. She holds a PhD in Geology with a specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario. Tanya is considered a passionate advocate for Mars and a social media influencer, using Twitter for public outreach about space. She spent 4 years working in mission operations as an Assistant Staff Scientist at Malin Space Science Systems on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI), as well as the Mast Cameras (Mastcam), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) aboard the Curiosity rover. Later at Arizona State University she worked in mission operations for the Panchromatic Camera (Pancam) aboard the Opportunity rover and held the position of Director of Research for the Space Technology and Science Initiative for 3 years. Currently she also serves as the youngest member of the Board of Governors for the National Space Society.

Caroline Juang is an incoming Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and formerly the project coordinator for the NASA citizen science project Landslide Reporter at Science Systems and Applications, Inc./NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. At NASA, Caroline launched the project and handled all aspects from outreach to data analysis with the help of the GSFC team. Previously, she interned as a Brooke Owens Fellow at Bryce Space and Technology. On the side, she volunteers with the Brooke Owens Fellowship and the Space Generation Advisory Council, motivated by her passion to increase access to opportunities in space. Caroline graduated in May 2017 with an A.B. in Earth & Planetary Sciences and a minor in Environmental Sciences and Public Policy from Harvard University. She is the only applicant accepted for a Plenary in IAC this year.

Steven Ramm works at Lockheed Martin Space as a Systems Engineer and the Commercialization Lead in Advanced Programs. Based in Denver, Steven helps shape and execute human space exploration projects such as NASA’s Lunar Gateway, Commercial Lunar Payload Services, and the Orion Commercial Payloads effort announced at IAC last year. Steven aspires to create a future where humanity has established a sustainable presence and vibrant economy on the Moon, harnessing deep space resources to improve life on Earth and propel us farther into the solar system. Prior to Advanced Programs, Steven performed Flight Test Integration on the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program in the Bay Area. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Outside of work, Steven shares his passion for space by being very active in the local community, performing various outreach activities to encourage younger generations to pursue careers in space.

Dr. Todd F. Sheerin will be joining The Aerospace Corporation in the Vehicle Design and Innovation Department this August where he will focus on spacecraft systems engineering for civil, commercial, and defense sectors. Todd recently completed his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received fellowships from the Draper Fellow Program (2014-2019), the Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2016-2019), and the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program (2018). Todd’s doctoral research focused on a first-of-its-kind optical atomic clock for GPS-denied positioning, navigation, and timing for which he led systems integration, thermal control design, atom-laser interactions modeling, and frequency reference instability investigations as part of a DARPA program and a Draper-NIST collaboration. Prior to his doctoral research, Todd led a variety of technology development and space systems maturation efforts at Draper, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and NASA directing three separate microgravity flight campaigns and working on projects ranging from astronaut mobility systems to reconfigurable spacecraft, small satellite deployables, lunar and low-gravity hoppers, high power solar electric propulsion and spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control. Todd received his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Harvard University.

Caleb Williams is the Lead Economic Analyst at SpaceWorks Enterprises where he oversees delivery of business strategy and economic analysis engagements for private-sector clients. During his time at SpaceWorks, he has served as the principal analyst for more than 15 engagements, covering topics ranging from Lunar Landers to additively manufactured rocket engines. Caleb is particularly interested in enabling wide-spread commercialization of outer space and his commentary regarding the commercial space industry has been widely featured across Forbes, WIRED, SpaceNews, Aviation Week and many others. In addition to his professional work, Caleb currently serves as an Advisor to the Symposium on Space Innovations at the Georgia Institute of Technology and previously served as the Principal Investigator for the Solar Crafting project in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Design Challenge. He received undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Economic Consulting from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Melodie Yashar is an architect, designer, and researcher. She earned a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) within the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Masters In Architecture at Columbia University. Melodie is a Senior Researcher within the Human Computer Interaction lab within the Human Systems Integration Division of NASA Ames. She is also co-founder and member of SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture), a group which won NASA’s Phase I and Phase III 3D-Printed Habitat Competition, and has since been collaborating with researchers at NASA Langley to realize a sub-scale demo for a future Martian ice habitat.


More information on http://www.futurespaceleaders.org/.