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SGAC Announces Winners of the 2012 SGAC Young Leadership Awards

09/11/2012

Vienna, Austria (Sept. 11, 2012) - SGAC has awarded nine university students and young professionals with SGAC Young Leadership Awards. These scholarships are given annually to SGAC's top volunteers to enable them to attend the Space Generation Congress. The winners have been indispensable assets to SGAC over the past year. Read on to learn more about this year's winners.

2012 SGAC Young Leadership Awardees:

Victoria Alonsoperez (Uruguay)
Victoria was born and raised in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, where she studied Telecommunications, Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Universidad de la Republica. For her thesis, she designed and built an Attitude Determination System for the first Uruguayan Satellite. In 2009, she was awarded the IAF Youth Grant, which enabled her to participate the Space Generation Congress in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. After this, Victoria became very excited about the work done by SGAC, and currently serves as Regional Coordinator for the South American region. She has presented papers at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 International Astronautical Congress. In 2011, Victoria was also a participant at the International Space University's Space Studies Programme (ISU SSP), where -- with two friends -- she helped design a medical experiment that won the Barcelona Zero-G Aerobatics Challenge. This year, Victoria served as a Teaching Associate at the Space Engineering Department during the ISU SSP, and was also a finalist for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Young Innovators Competition.

"It is an honour for me to receive the SGAC Young Leadership Award. SGAC is an amazing organisation, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. I am really glad to have the opportunity to attend SGC and share ideas with young people from all over the world who have the same passion for space. I am sure this year's SGC will be an awesome event, and I can't wait to be there. Thank you very much!"

Edu F. Aymerich (Spain)
Edu F. Aymerich was born in Barcelona in 1987. He has been interested in space since he was a child. He is an ISU Alumni after participating in SHS SP 2012 and SSP 2012, and a member of the Delegate Team for SGC 2012. Prior to these achievements, Edu completed an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC-2008). He spent his final six months of university at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, where he completed his final project. In 2010, Edu earned his Masters in Aerospace Science and Technology from UPC with a First Class Distinction Award. He began his professional career in 2009 as a Research Assistance with the Centre for Research in Nano-Engineering in Barcelona, where he deals with nanocomposites. He is also pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Science and Technology. He also earned a Masters in Education from UPC in 2011. His Master thesis was entitled "How to Improve Communicative Skills". Since 2009, Edu has been teaching mathematics, science and technology at a secondary level. Edu is also Co-Founder and CEO of "I Sweet Horta, S.C.P.", which operates a sweet shop in Barcelona. He is also an amateur actor for the local theatre company and professional assistance director for other stage plays. Sport is always present in his life; Edu has practised Judo for 11 years, played handball for 3 years and continues to regularly swim and play football.

"I am really proud to receive the Young Leadership Award to attend SGC 2012. I know how difficult it is to win this award, so I will act and work with responsibility. I will help as much as I can during and after the Congress. Thank you for this opportunity!"

Damian M. Bielicki (Poland)
Polish national, Damian Maria Bielicki, is based in London working as a Broker at Air Charter Service Plc. He is also a Chairman at World Space Week Association managing a program which flies students from around the world on a zero-gravity plane. He holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Silesia in Poland. Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Public International Law and European Law with specialization in Air & Space Law. Visiting Researcher at Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Accomplished the ISU's Space Studies Program at NASA Ames Research Center in California. He was working on several space projects, e.g. within the European Space Agency (ESA), with the Boeing Company and at NASA Ames. He also participated in different space law and policy courses, competitions and foras in such European countries as the Netherlands, Italy, France, Greece, Hungary and Russia. Additionally, Damian is Affiliate at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London and Member of the European Centre for Space Law in Paris.

I am delighted to have won the SGAC Young Leadership Award. I am very proud to be a part of SGAC and I hope that SGC 2012 in Italy will be one of the greatest space events of its kind."

Matteo Emanuelli (Italy)
Matteo Emanuelli was born in Milan, Italy. He has served as SGAC National Point of Contact for Italy since July 2011, and he is currently working as a Junior Business Developer at HE Space in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. Matteo worked on his project on a space debris removal mission at the Omsk State Technical University in Russia while he was enrolled at Politecnico di Milano. This project was presented during the Heinlein contest "Flight into the Future 2011" in Moscow, Russia.

"I am very honoured to receive the Young Leadership Award. It was quite unexpected, but I am so glad to have the opportunity to attend the Space Generation Congress in my home country. It is simply amazing! I look forward to supporting SGAC in all the planned activities in Herculaneum and Naples."

Scott Fisher (Australia)
Scott Fisher is in his final year of studying a Bachelor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He became involved with SGAC since attending the 2011 Space Generation Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, and has been working as the SGAC Web Editor since January 2012. Closer to home, Scott has worked with the Australian Youth Aerospace Association, organising the Australian Youth Aerospace Forum, which is an Australian outreach and education event that promotes the aerospace industry to senior secondary students. In between his studies and extra-curricular activities, Scott has worked as an intern at Insitu Pacific, who produce the ScanEagle Military UAV, and also at Optus Satellite Operations, the only Australia Telco to own and operate a fleet of satellites.

"I am truly honoured to be a recipient of the SGAC Young Leadership Award. It represents an amazing opportunity, enabling me to attend SGAC's pre-eminent event. I am really looking forward to SGC 2012 in Naples, and am certain that it will be an amazing experience."

Katrina Laygo (USA)
Katrina Laygo is a first year student at the George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. In 2010, she graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she received her Bacherlors in Geography and Environmental Studies, with a minor in Geospatial Information Systems and Technology. Her research at UCLA focused on public remote sensing applications for security monitoring in South Asia. Katrina served as the Centre Lead for NASA's Applied Sciences DEVELOP Programme at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she led Earth science research projects mentored by science advisors and extended results to communities. She currently manages and participates in DEVELOP's research projects at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre. In 2011, Katrina participated in the 62nd International Astronautical Congress and 10th Space Generation Congress, as well as this year's inaugural Space Generation Fusion Forum. She served as a panellist for the Forum's Developing Regions and Space Applications group. Katrina is the Project Lead for the SGAC-NASA Exploration Video Team and a team member of SGAC's Space Technologies for Disaster Management (STDM) Working Group. She also recently authored the SGAC STDM paper, "Satellite-Based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Applications to the 2011 Japan Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami".

"It is an absolute honour and privilege to be awarded a 2012 Young Leadership Award! I would like to thank SGAC for recognising me and providing me with this incredibly rewarding opportunity and responsibility. I am so proud to be a part of this organisation. The networks I have made through SGAC have been incredibly valuable in developing lasting friendships with like-minded and enthusiastic space advocates with diverse backgrounds from around the world. Attending SGC will further empower me to collaborate internationally, gaining a global perspective on the future of the space sector. Through my attendance, I also hope to share my individual set of skills in the space sector, while also broadening my interests and enhancing my career and academic goals. I am motivated and inspired by SGC's outstanding platform for creative collaboration and discussion on international space policy issues. Finally, I look forward to cultivating my leadership skills, promoting space activities back home and abroad, and would like to thank SGAC, once more, for the support and recognition."

S. Ali Nasseri (Iran)
S. Ali Nasseri began his studies in aerospace engineering in 2006 at K.N. Toosi University of Technology in Iran. There, his research activities focused on the modelling and optimisation of aerospace systems with special focus on space launch applications. In 2010, Ali moved to The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies to pursue graduate studies with the Combustion and Propulsion Group. In 2011, he was sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency to attend the "CubeSat Summer School" at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Joining SGAC in 2011, Ali has been involved with the Space Safety and Sustainability group, focusing on active space debris removal systems. In his free time, Ali enjoys reading books, swimming and cooking. He is also actively involved in teaching both university and secondary school students.

"It is an absolute honour to have been granted this scholarship to attend SGC 2012. I am very excited to be granted the opportunity to discuss the future of space activities in an international environment. I am sure that I will learn a lot from this experience and look forward to meeting all the bright minds participating in this year's event."

Laura Rose (Canada)
Laura completed her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She is currently a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, where she works on pre-clinical gene delivery to induce bone formation. She completed the Space Studies Programme at the International Space University in 2011. Laura has a taste for adventure, and loves to travel, run and swim.

"The Young Leadership Award provides a wonderful opportunity to share one's voice at SGC. With the wealth of talented colleagues at SGAC, I am truly honoured and grateful to be selected as a recipient of this award."

Junzi Sun (China)
Junzi was born in 1985 in China. In 2007, he graduated from Beijing University with a degree in Posts and Telecommunications as an Electronic Information Engineer. From 2007 to 2011, he worked as a research and development engineering at the Aerospace Technology Centre (CTAE) in Barcelona, Spain. At the same time, he completed his Masters in Aerospace Science and Technology at the Technical University of Catalunya (UPC) in 2010. Now, he is a researcher at Ascamm Foundation, also located in Barcelona, where he works on indoor navigation technologies. Junzi likes space and computer science, and is also an alumni of the International Space University.

"I am very happy to receive the SGAC Young Leadership Award. I look forward to meeting other young professionals from all over the world at SGC 2012!"

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