Space Foundation Speaks to College Students

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

 Three Space Foundation executives were on the agenda at last month's SpaceVision 2011 conference in Boulder, Colo., speaking on topics as diverse as education, space policy and building public awareness of the benefits of space.

Participating on panels at the largest student-organized space conference in the nation were:

  • Vice President - Education Iain Probert, who talked about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in a workshop that also featured Hollie Stevenson, vice president of education, Junior Achievement - Rocky Mountain, Inc.; Dennis Stone, volunteer president, World Space Week; Marcia Fiamengo, chief executive officer, Federation of Galaxy Explorers; and Moderator Barbara David, space science education consultant and journalist.
  • Vice President - Marketing and Communications Janet Stevens, who participated in a panel discussion on space industry public relations and marketing with Alan Ladwig, deputy associate administrator - public outreach, Office of Communications, NASA; and Diane Murphy, president, Aquarius Group LLC and trustee, X-Prize Foundation.
  • Research Associate Tommy Sanford, who spoke on a space policy panel that also comprised Gary Barnhard, executive director, National Space Society; Will Watson, executive director, Space Frontier Foundation; and Moderator John Gedmark, founding executive director, Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Probert Discusses Importance of Early Childhood Education
Probert, who is based in Colorado Springs and leads all of the Space foundations education and workforce development programs, provided the audience with an overview of the Space Foundation's programs, including its Space Across the Curriculum courses. When talking about the range of classes the Space Foundation provides, he stressed the importance of inspiring and motivating children as young as pre-kindergarten. "Many people question why we focus our space education programs at children so young," said Probert. "We do it because we know that children that age are excited and inspired by space."

Stevens Talks about Marketing and PR Basics
Speaking from her perspective as the head of marketing, communications and space awareness programs for the Space Foundation, Stevens explained that the key to effective marketing and communications programs is identifying the target audience and formulating what you want your audience to think and do. She is based in Colorado Springs. "At the Space Foundation, we want the general public to think space exploration is good for humanity," she said. "And, we want them to support space through their votes and their support of space programs."

Sanford Explains Policy Process
Sanford traveled from his home base in Washington, D.C., to discuss the current space policy environment. In his discussions of the space policy process, Sanford explained that over the past few decades, NASA appropriations have remained essentially even, regardless of which political party is in power or the president's political affiliation. "Based on this," he said, "it is reasonable to assume funding will not significantly increase in the future."

About SpaceVision 2011
Orchestrated by the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) and coordinated by the University of Colorado SEDS Chapter (CUSEDS), SpaceVision 2011 served as the SEDS-USA annual conference, facilitating networking among college students, professionals and the public. It attracted more than 400 students and professionals from across the country and around the world. The Space Foundation, which has a number of programs to engage both students and young space professionals, was a co-sponsor of the event.

SpaceVision 2011 kicked off on Oct. 27 with a dinner featuring television personality, scientist and executive director of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye the Science Guy®. On Oct. 28 - 30, SpaceVision featured speakers, workshops and exhibits. The Space Foundation hosted a booth where attendees could learn about the National Space Symposium, The Space Report and the Space Foundation's New Generation Initiatives.

About SEDS
SEDS started in 1980 as a joint venture between Peter Diamandis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Todd Hawley at Princeton University. The group had a simple vision that continues to serve as its underlying guiding principle today: to unite students with enthusiasm for the exploration and eventual development of space. The elected members of SEDS-USA act as a coordinating body for more than 25 chapters comprising 800 students at universities throughout the United States and international chapters, including UKSEDS and SEDS-India. For more information, click here.
Pictured: Space Foundation Research Associate Tommy Sanford explains space policy process.

This article is part of Space Watch: November 2011 (Volume: 10, Issue: 11).