Meet Our Volunteers
Membership in the Moon Club is reserved for volunteers who have reached 100 hours of service in support of the Space Foundation Discovery Center and Space Foundation World Headquarters. Fourteen dedicated volunteers were welcomed into the Moon Club as inaugural members (pictured above from left to right): Steven Crowe, Jane (Janie) Ganyard, Warren Pearce, Janet Carlson, George Carlson, Terry Miller, Joseph Santa, David Koster, Wendy Perelstein and Anthony Harper. Not pictured - Moselle Bernal, Joan Powers, Lou Ramon and Marla Van Derwalker. Thank you for your commitment and hard work!
Meet Featured Volunteer Wendy Perelstein
When the Space Foundation Discovery Center opened its doors in October of 2012, Wendy Perelstein answered our plea for volunteers and knew right away she had found her calling. Wendy quickly became a key member of our volunteer program and has worked on a variety of projects with the education team and assisting our IT department at the annual Space Symposium. But she has made the biggest impact in the Discovery Center, where she has created presentations for Science On a Sphere (SOS). As lead docent, she trains new volunteers in the operational mechanics of the SOS and shares her tips and tricks of presenting to an audience in the special SOS room.
In addition to earning a degree in software development, Wendy helps run a neighborhood clothing and food pantry. She spends her free time researching and learning as much as possible about space exploration and planetary science. She is excited for the New Horizons mission to arrive at Pluto and she’s also closely following the testing and development of the Orion spacecraft, which is scheduled to take man to the moon, asteroids, and beyond - she hopes to Mars!
Wendy says volunteering at the Discovery Center has had a profound influence on her life and has given her the opportunity to inspire others, especially young people. She strongly encourages anyone who has an interest in space and enjoys sharing that interest to volunteer at the Discover Center. “It's a great place to learn about new technology while brushing up on historical space-related events,” she says. “Every day, there is a new opportunity to enlighten individuals about the wonders of the universe.”
The Space Foundation Discovery Center gives volunteers the chance to meet people from all over the world and all walks of life with a common fascination – space. That is just one of the many benefits of volunteering. To read more about the benefits and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.
Meet Featured Volunteer Joe Santa
Like many of our volunteer docents, Joe Santa spent many years working in the space industry. After receiving a bachelor’s and master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan, he began working on the Apollo program in the 1960’s where he helped design the third stage (Saturn SIV-B) of the Apollo launch vehicle. He spent 16 years with McDonnell-Douglas working on related space vehicle studies. He next joined Thompson Ramo Woodridge (TRW) and worked in the system area related to battle management and various command & control systems. During the ‘80s, he worked at two different NORAD centers. During his last three years before retirement, he was employed with The Boeing Company where he worked on a NASA space architecture study that looked at going back to the moon.
Since retirement, he has spent time as a consultant and as an adjunct professor teaching calculus and differential equations at Pikes Peak Community College. Originally from the state of Michigan, Joe has worked around the country including California and Colorado, returning to Colorado in 2000.
Now, Joe fills his time as a volunteer docent at the Space Foundation Discovery Center. He has volunteered in the Discovery Center since it opened its doors in October of 2012. He enjoys seeing all the kids that come through and hopes to inspire and motivate them to get excited about space, much like his generation was. One of his favorite things about working in the Discovery Center is giving presentations on Science On a Sphere; in particular he likes working with the astronomy-related datasets. He also has an affinity for the launch-related exhibits since he spent 18 years of his career working specifically with launch vehicles.
He encourages anyone who can to volunteer with the Space Foundation. He says it’s very interesting and motivating to be able to interact with children and to answer their questions about space. He also says it’s great to be able to walk around the gallery and just “be” with space artifacts.
Sharing a passion for space with the next generation is just one of the many benefits of volunteering with the Space Foundation. To read more about the benefits and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.
Meet Featured Volunteer Ken Bond
Ken Bond didn’t grow up wanting to work in the space industry, but found his passion at the Colorado School of Mines, where he received a degree in geophysics. Following college, he worked in Australia, but after being laid off in 1985, he returned to Colorado and began working for Martin Marietta at its facility in Littleton, Colo., as a test engineer in the Space Simulation Lab.
He spent nearly two years working on the Venus Radar Mapper (VRM) mission (later renamed Magellan). Ken considers his work on this mission to be the highlight of his five years with Martin Marietta. He also spent five years working in the Space Simulation Lab at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. During his time there, he worked on a total of 24 Space Shuttle missions. He worked closely with the Shuttle astronauts, training them how to use the suits necessary to perform extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and part of his job even involved watching astronauts sleep. After his time at JSC, he returned to Colorado Springs and spent 16 years working for various Air Force contractors before retiring.
Ken has been volunteering with the Space Foundation for about a year and “discovered” the Discovery Center just by chance. He toured the facility with his ski club and really liked what he saw. He decided he needed to spend more time here and found that he could do that by volunteering. He also volunteers with the Western Museum of Mining and Industry and has found that he really enjoys working with kids, particularly 4th and 5th graders.
Ken’s favorite exhibit in the Discovery Center is the space suits, because of his history working with them. But his favorite part of his role as docent is doing Science On a Sphere® presentations. With his background as a geophysicist, he really enjoys presenting the tour of the solar system and talking to the kids about Mars. It brings his passions – rocks, minerals, science and exploration – full circle and melds them together.
There have been many enjoyable experiences at the Discovery Center for Ken, but one special moment stands out. While giving a presentation for a family in Science On a Sphere, he handed the controls over to two of the kids, middle-school age, and let them interact and explore with the Sphere on their own. It was a real “aha” moment for Ken when he saw the passion come alive in those two youngsters that day.
Ken has experienced an interesting transformation while volunteering. He initially began volunteering in order to “entertain” himself, but as time has gone by, it has developed into a commitment and has become another part of who he is. He finds that he wants to learn more to improve and get better at his duties as a docent, in order to better represent the Discovery Center.
Sharing your passion for space with the next generation is just one of the many benefits of volunteering with the Space Foundation. To read more about the benefits and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.
Meet Featured Volunteer Lou Ramon
(Feb. 2014) Lou Ramon has been a "space cadet" his entire life. As a young boy, he had his own model plane "air force" hanging from his bedroom ceiling and he grew up reading and watching science fiction TV shows and movies. So it's no wonder he ended up turning that passion into a lifelong career in the space industry.
Lou received a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly University in Pomona, Calif. Accomplishments of his nearly 50-year career, in and around the Johnson Space Center in Houston, are too numerous to mention. He has been involved in nearly every U.S. human spaceflight program from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle, the International Space Station to Orion. Among the many highlights for him was working as part of Apollo 11, alongside astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. He worked on the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System for the Space Shuttle. He also led a team that had a hand in the design of the International Space Station. After the Columbia Disaster, Lou led a Boeing team to assure the Space Shuttle was safe to return to flight. He continues to be passionate about human spaceflight and considers himself to be an "old-fashioned spaceman."
Lou began as a docent at the Discovery Center in the summer of 2013 and he volunteers because it offers him the opportunity to combine his interests in space and education. He enjoys talking to people about the space program and says, "I feel that I can help people to better understand what the space program is about, why it is important to them and to encourage youngsters to further their knowledge in science, technology, education and math (STEM)." Not surprisingly, he says his favorite exhibits in the Discovery Center are the ones that have ties to space programs he has worked on. He's partial to both the Lunar Module and the Lunar Rock (which has recently been returned to NASA), as well as the Space Shuttle and the U.S. spacesuit exhibits. Lou receives a great deal of fulfillment from volunteering in the Discovery Center and encourages anyone who is interested in space to volunteer. He says, "Go for it! The Discovery Center has great plans for the future and a great professional staff. Everyone here helps make the Discovery Center a unique and worthwhile resource to the region."
Lou retired in July of 2013 and he and Cindy, his wife of 30 years, settled down in Woodland Park, Colo. They fell in love with the mountains and the area after regularly visiting from Houston. They have three grown children who live in Houston, Seattle and Dallas. In addition to volunteering with the Space Foundation, Lou also volunteers with the FIRST Robotics Competition, the BEST Robotics Championships in Denver and the Woodland Park Music Series.
The benefits of volunteering with the Space Foundation are numerous. To read more about them and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation's mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.
Meet Featured Volunteers George & Jan Carlson
(Oct. 2013) George and Jan Carlson enjoy spending time together and one way they choose to do just that is by volunteering at the Space Foundation Discovery Center – together.
George and Jan are both retired and have made their home in Colorado since 1983. They have two children – a son who lives in Broomfield, Colo., and a daughter in Dallas, Tex. – and three grandsons. George spent 21 years in the Air Force working as a Communications Center Specialist and an Aircraft Control & Warning Systems operator. After retiring from the Air Force, George worked as a Certification & Accreditation Specialist and has been retired “full-time” for four years. Jan retired last year after working in the administrative field for a government contractor dealing with acquisition of systems.
George started out volunteering with the Space Foundation at the 27th National Space Symposium in 2011. On opening day of the Discovery Center in October 2012, both George and Jan volunteered for the very first shift with George helping out in the Light Security area and Jan working primarily at the Admissions Desk.
George’s favorite artifact in the El Pomar Space Gallery is the Lunokhod Rover, a Soviet lunar rover on loan from the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center. He also enjoys interacting with the children who come through the Discovery Center. He said, “It’s always fun to see the expressions of amazement on their faces when they walk in.”
Jan’s favorite part of the Discovery Center is the Science On a Sphere®. While working the admissions desk, she has also enjoyed finding out where visitors have traveled from when she gets their zip code at check-in. Over this past summer, for the Summer of Discovery, she had an opportunity to talk to visitors from all over the United States and Canada. Both George and Jan say they’ve “really enjoyed seeing the changes and the growth of the Discovery Center throughout its first year of operation.”
From helping to educate the next generation to meeting people from across the country and beyond, the benefits of volunteering with the Space Foundation are numerous. To read more about the benefits and how you can volunteer to help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.
Meet Featured Volunteer Joan Powers
(Sept. 2013) Joan Powers is a self-proclaimed space geek. That might seem odd for a certified public accountant, but when she's not crunching numbers during her day job, she likes to do something that fuels her passion for all things space - she volunteers with the Space Foundation!
Since February of 2012, Joan has been a dedicated volunteer with the Space Foundation. She started by volunteering at the Space Symposium, the premier annual gathering of the global space community held every spring at The Broadmoor Hotel. With more than 9,000 participants, the four-day Space Symposium requires more than 300 volunteers just like Joan, who may work from as little as four hours to as much as several months gearing up for this event. Then, when we opened the Discovery Center in October of 2012, Joan jumped at the chance to volunteer as a docent, where she gets to answer questions about the exhibits in the El Pomar Space Gallery – Joan’s favorite exhibit is the Moon rock! - and assist with Science On a Sphere®. She has also volunteered to help with special events such as the Space & Science Fiction Halloween Ball, an annual fundraising event to benefit Space Foundation STEM Education programs and the Summer of Discovery, our ten-week, summer-long program of special themed activities at the Discovery Center.
Joan’s passion for space began at a very early age and was encouraged by her mother, who shared the same passion. As a young child, she vividly remembers the Moon landing in 1969 and the hardships encountered by the crew of the Apollo 13 mission, both of which made a huge impression on her. She has tried to instill a love for learning in her two children, now ages 18 and 20, by exposing them to space-related adventures such as a trip to see the final launch of the Space Shuttle program when Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center in July of 2011. She was also lucky enough to witness the final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery in February of 2011, something she describes as one of the most emotional moments of her life.
It’s obvious that Joan is fulfilled by her work with the Space Foundation and she encourages anyone who has even a small amount of spare time and an interest in space and science to volunteer. “You have no idea of the quality of people you can meet to further your passion,” she says. Her own highlights include meeting Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and running into Roger Hunter, project manager of the Kepler Mission, who took time to chat with her about the mission and NASA’s search for habitable planets while charging his cell phone at the Space Symposium. “Not to mention, all the other volunteers you meet, many of whom are top-notch space industry folks,” she adds. The benefits of volunteering are numerous. To read more about them and how you can volunteer and help further the Space Foundation’s mission to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org/about/volunteer-opportunities.