Our Student Space Ambassador Leadership Program (SSA) is structured by an innovative lead from within model. This means we have an advisory board that is made up of students and professional mentors with opportunities for students to join the board as they become eligible and spots are available. Students can also opt to remain on the board as a mentor/professional upon graduation.

The SSA Advisory Board is a working board that creates strategy, plans and implementation of all SSA programs. This board gets it done!

Our Student Space Ambassador Advisory Board Members Include:

Ken Buckler TMG SSA ChairKen Buckler – Board Chair (Professional)

Ken Buckler graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. With a career focused on cyber security and risk management, Ken currently holds a CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification.

Over the past ten years working for several contracting businesses in the United States, Ken has provided information technology and cyber security services to multiple Federal agencies, including system engineering, application security, and continuous monitoring services. He specializes in analyzing and reporting security information for large, distributed enterprises.

Morgan Irons Mars GenerationMorgan Irons – Vice-Chair (Student)

Morgan Irons is a recent Duke University graduate with a double major with honors in environmental science and biology, a chemistry minor, and a pre-medicine emphasis. Her research review on closed ecological systems (CES’s) led to the development of a new patent pending CES model, the Three-Zone Model, and the founding of Deep Space Ecology. At Duke University’s Research Greenhouses, Morgan has performed research growing plants in Mars regolith simulant to better learn how plants will grow on Mars. Morgan plans on continuing her education to receive a Ph.D and M.D. in astro-ecology and space medicine before entering the astronaut program.

Danny_Jaques_the_mars_generation_ssaDanny Jaques – (Professional)

Danny R. Jaques was raised on a 960 acre farm/ranch near Ignacio, Colorado. At an early age he acquired the love of reading and would escape the bounds of Earth in the pages of science fiction books. After receiving a degree in biology from Fort Lewis College in 1983, he landed a junior high science teaching position in his home town of Ignacio. In 1992 Jaques toured Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama and subsequently has fundraised and brought hundreds of student to Space Camp and Aviation Challenge. Jaques retired from Colorado schools in 2015. Since then, he has earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership for Change from Fielding Graduate University and is currently working for Mesa Alta Junior High School in Bloomfield, New Mexico as an Instructional Resource and Data Specialist. Jaques is a member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame and continues to take students to Space/Aviation Challenge.

Mike Johnson Possum Mars GenerationMike Johnson – Board Member (Professional)

Michael Johnson is a Private Pilot and Ground Instructor with professional expertise in Workforce Diversity, Outreach and Inclusion. Through over 15 years of professional public-sector experience, Michael manages a talented multi-disciplinary staff and brings together diverse interests within government and throughout the greater community for the State of Minnesota. Michael is active in the community and volunteers as pilot and instructor offering introductory flights and ground instruction to kids and young adults in partnership with several local non-profit organizations. Michael has been recognized for Advancing Racial Equity with a grant award from The Saint Paul Foundation. Michael has created a variety of unique aerospace scholarship opportunities for students to begin flight training and participate in NASA-supported research.

Aaron Shepard – (Student)

Aaron Shepard is a student at Clemson University pursing his Master’s degree in electrical engineering. His research, funded by NASA, focuses on the design and development of robots for use in outer space. He aspires to become a robotics engineer and hopefully a real-life astronaut! Aaron is passionate about advocating for space exploration and STEM , especially to students who are historically underrepresented in those fields. Outside of space and STEM he loves tinkering in his work room, running, salsa dancing with his wife, video games, and scuba diving!