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.

Emily_Judd_the_mars_generation_ssa-2Emily Judd – Board Secretary (Student)

Emily Judd discovered her passion for science by reading many science fiction books, especially the Tom Swift, Jr. series, and attending a two-week science camp during middle school that included hunting for fossils and hands-on chemical analysis. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2016, where she majored in Aerospace Engineering and Music Performance. This combination of studies led her to conduct outreach in integrating the arts with STEM fields and encouraging young students to pursue careers in science and engineering, particularly in the space sector. After successful internships at Iowa State University on automating wind turbine blade manufacturing and NASA Langley Research Center on creating new nanocomposite materials, Emily realized that she enjoyed the opportunities available in research and development. She is now working towards her Ph.D. in Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan with research interests in planetary atmospheres, astrodynamics, and aerospace structures and materials.

Brittany Wedd The Mars Generation Brittany Wedd –  (Professional)

Brittany Wedd is the Director of Operations of Discovery Station at Hagerstown, Inc.- a hands-on museum that provides life-long learning experiences to thousands of children and families each year. Her work focuses on cultivating an environment that stimulates curiosity for discovery, exploration, and further investigation through exhibits and programs that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) principles. Through her work at the museum and in science events hosted at the White House, she has participated as a science instructor to over 30,000 children. She is the past Vice President of the Washington County Association of Museums and Historical Sites. She also serves on the advisory board for the Monarch Alliance to promote the conservation of Monarch Butterflies. In her free time, she is a lobbyist for Lyme literate legislation to help battle the ongoing epidemic of Lyme Disease. She also enjoys reading publications on theoretical physics and climate change.

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.

Hayley_Lewis_the_mars_generation_ssaHayley Lewis – (Student)

Hayley is a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, studying Spaceflight Operations with minors in Systems Engineering and Computer Science. From North Florida, she has always been inspired by space exploration and was first introduced to its applications through the NASA Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholar’s program. In high school, she participated on a FIRST Robotics Competition team as a Team Captain, Here she discovered her passion for operations and systems integration, but also for sharing science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics with the community. Now, Hayley is President of the Spaceflight Sciences, Policy and Operations Club (SSPOC) whose purpose is to provide space related networking, educational workshops, and outreach opportunities for undergraduate students at ERAU. Hayley is also affiliated with the Florida FIRST Alumni Network and works as Project Manager on a suborbital research payload.

Yogi Rana – (Student)

Yogi is currently a student at Clemson University pursuing a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While going to Clemson, he works at an organization on campus called PEER&WISE, an organization that helps women and minorities students in engineering, computer science or math. With PEER&WISE, he has been able to help children that come to Clemson for their signature events to learn more about STEM and STEAM. Yogi has also taken part in several design competitions such as The HP and Intel design competition.  After graduation, he plans to work as a design engineer and to finish flight school so that he can become a commercial airline pilot. In his spare time, he plays the violin for a local symphony in Greenville and pursues his interest in photography.

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!

De Lin Show – (Student)

Passionate about earth and planets, De Lin majored in Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. She has interned at Hong Kong Observatory and worked as meteorology laboratory demonstrator at University of Edinburgh. De Lin is especially interested in climate modelling, simulations, and how they might help us predict future weather patterns on Earth and exoplanets. She has recently studied astronomy through Cambridge Science Summer Programme. De Lin is now volunteering as teaching assistant for a student-initiated MOOC on discrete mathematics, with support from MIT Open Courseware.