Project Leads

Anna Voelker Headshot

Anna Voelker is the founder and Executive Director of the SciAccess, Inc., an international nonprofit organization that promotes disability inclusion in STEM education, outreach, and research. Through SciAccess, Anna leads numerous science accessibility programs, including Mission: AstroAccess and the annual SciAccess Conference, which unites an international audience with a shared passion for science equity.

Anna specializes in accessible science outreach for diverse audiences and is passionate about making STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) accessible to all, as detailed in their 2017 TEDx Talk. Anna is an avid public speaker and has given over 50 presentations on space science accessibility across 4 continents. In 2021, Anna hosted a live NASA event where astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) answered questions from students with disabilities. This was the first ISS event to feature American Sign Language in over a decade. Anna was named a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow, 2021 Future Space Leader, and previously worked at NASA Kennedy, NASA Goddard, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Ohio State University Department of Astronomy, the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development, and the Aerospace Corporation. 

George Whitesides Headshot
George Whitesides is the Chair of the Space Advisory Board for Virgin Galactic.  He was the company’s first CEO, and over the course of ten years brought the company to successful spaceflight operations and a public listing on the NYSE.  He served as the Chief of Staff for NASA under President Obama and Administrator Charlie Bolden.  He serves on advisory councils for Caltech, Princeton, and the Giant Magellan Telescope. He is committed to opening space for the benefit of all.
Tim Bailey Headshot

Tim Bailey is a catalyst, working in various fields to initiate and accelerate opportunities. For the past 18 years he has been a a part-time Flight Attendant with the Zero Gravity Corporation, racking up over 7,500 parabolas across more than 350 flights. He also serves as Executive Director and Board member for Yuri’s Night, the global nonprofit organization supporting grassroots celebrations on the anniversary of human spaceflight, April 12. Tim has also worked on projects with various agencies including NASA, DARPA, the Department of Energy, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and proud father of two adventurous kids.

Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen Headshot
Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen is an associate professor of linguistics  at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Along with various aspects of astrobiology, her research interests include social aspects of human colonization,  disability, the relationship between language, embodiment and thought, language evolution and ways in which alternative sensory inputs could influence the evolution of scientific thought. She is on the board of SOCIA (Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology and METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International.
Eric Ingram Headshot
Eric Ingram is the Founder and CEO of SCOUT Inc., a company de-risking space operations with sensor suites that enable spacecraft to see and understand the area around them. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Space Frontier Foundation. He was previously an Aerospace Engineer for the Licensing and Evaluation Division of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, where he gained expertise in the regulatory environment. Prior to this, Eric was an engineer for Deep Space Industries, where he designed cubesat subsystems for testbed missions. Outside of the space industry, Eric previously served as the President of the United States Wheelchair Rugby Association, leading the USWRA to its largest budget surplus in its 30+ year history. Eric has competed in the sport of wheelchair rugby for 15+ years, competing domestically for several club teams, and internationally with the US Developmental team. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Old Dominion University, most of a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston, a sport pilot certificate, and is working towards SCUBA certification.
Caitlin O'Brien Headshot

Caitlin O’Brien is an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University majoring in Astrophysics & Astronomy and Physics. In 2019, she was named a Morill Scholar, recognizing her as a student engaged in diversity, leadership, and service. While working for the SciAccess Initiative she has contributed to numerous projects, including the SciAccess 2020 Conference— a virtual conference achieving over 1,200 registrants from 46 nations and all seven continents— and the SciAccess Zenith Mentorship Program (Zenith), which benefits blind and low-vision high school students. Caitlin helped to found Zenith and currently acts as Vice-President of the program. In addition to her work in outreach, she also serves as the President of the Astronomical Society at OSU, and a planetarium presenter at the Arne Slettebak Planetarium. She serves as co-lead of logistics on Mission: AstroAccess.

Dr. Jamie L. Molaro Headshot
Dr Jamie L. Molaro is the Executive Director of Disabled for Accessibility in Space (DIAS).  Dr. Molaro is a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and located geographically with host institution the Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding the way that rocky and icy materials fracture and break down, driving landscape evolution on asteroids, comets, and moons. She is also a team member on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to retrieve a sample of rock from an asteroid surface. Service is an integral part of Molaro’s career, including organizing and running exhibitions and workshops on science and data-driven art, and leading DAIS (Disabled for Accessibility in Space). DAIS is a peer networking, support, and advocacy group for disabled and chronically ill people in space science and related fields and professions, and proud collaborator in Mission: AstroAccess.
AJ is black male wearing a backwards black hat and red sweater. He is sitting down next to other folks and speaking with expressive hand gestures.

AJ Link (he/him) is openly autistic. He received his JD from The George Washington University Law School and his LL.M in Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, while also serving as the inaugural director of The Center for Air and Space Law Task Force on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Aerospace. AJ is the Director of Communications for Mission: AstroAccess and works as a research director for the Jus Ad Astra project. He also serves as the president of the National Disabled Law Students Association, which he co-founded.

AJ has been actively involved with disability advocacy in the Washington, DC area and nationally within the United States. He serves on several advisory boards and steering committees that focus on disability advocacy and broader social justice movements.

Brenda Williamson Headshot

Brenda Williamson is an undergraduate aerospace engineering student at UC San Diego. She was the Chairperson of the AIAA Student Branch at UCSD as well as a board member and project manager for the Themed Entertainment Association at UCSD. She now serves as the Director of Logistics with AstroAccess. Her passion in the aerospace industry is to make it possible for the average person to explore outer space. She strives to promote the exploration and development of space with an interest in human factors engineering, systems engineering, and project management. Brenda will fly on Aurelia Horizon in July of 2023, running an experiment to research accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing astronauts.

Organizing Team

Dr. Erik Viire Headshot

Dr. Erik Viirre M.D. Ph.D.  is a Professor in the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Department of Neurosciences, and is the Director of the UCSD Arthur C Clarke Center for Human Imagination. His interests in spaceflight include information systems, spatial orientation in weightlessness and the physiology of spaceflight. He is the PI and co-PI of the UCSD BOARDS missions to the International Space Station. He has worked on wearable astronaut information systems for NASA and served as a medical consultant to  ZERO-G, Virgin Galactic Corporation, and Blue Origin. Dr. Viirre has had the privileges of meeting Sir Arthur C. Clarke in person in Sri Lanka and serving as the Chief Medical Officer of ZERO-G leading the medical team that took Professor Stephen Hawking into weightlessness. Dr. Viirre received his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology in 1987 at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada and his M.D. in 1988. He was a graduate of the Inaugural Class of International Space University (ISU) in 1988.

H.R. Zucker Headshot
H.R. Zucker is an air and space technology strategist, consultant, engineer and aviator. He has 40 years experience supporting various United States and international air and space communities to include supporting key national authorities across multiple domains of national security and commercial importance. Throughout his career he supported aerospace experimentation and operational activities for the advancement of non and human-rated space transportation systems and operational activities. Today, he is currently engaged to help facilitate growing commercial space human flight experiences through various venues and organizations.
Brenda Williamson Headshot

Dr. Ariel Ekblaw is the founder and Director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative, a team of over 50 graduate students, staff, and faculty actively prototyping the artifacts of our sci-fi space future. Founded in 2016, the Initiative includes a portfolio of 40+ research projects focused on opening access to life in space, and supports an accelerator-like R&D program for payload development and flight testing across MIT and many outreach communities. For the Initiative, Ariel drives space-related research across science, engineering, art, and design, and charters an annually recurring cadence of parabolic flights, sub-orbital, and orbital launch opportunities.  Ariel graduated with a B.S. in Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University and designed a novel space architecture habitat for her MIT PhD in autonomously self-assembling space structures. Her research work and engineering lab builds towards future habitats and space stations in orbit around the Earth, Moon, and Mars. Ariel’s work has been featured in WIRED (March 2020 cover story), MIT Technology Review, Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, CNN, NPR, PRI’s Science Friday, IEEE and AIAA proceedings, and more. Ariel serves on the NASA Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC) Executive Committee, guiding and shaping the coming decade of burgeoning activity on the moon, and is the author/editor of the forthcoming "Into the Anthropocosmos: A Whole Space Catalog from the MIT Space Exploration Initiative" with MIT Press (September 2021). Ariel has had the rare honor and pleasure of working directly on space hardware that now resides on the surface of Mars. Humanity stands on the cusp of interplanetary civilization and space is our next, grand frontier. This opportunity to design our interplanetary lives beckons to us—Ariel strives to bring our space exploration future to life.

Sumant Jha Headshot

Dr. Sumant Jha is a geoscientist and geospatial modeling expert. He has over 20 years of national and international experience in geoscientific research which includes understanding earth’s tectonic activities which led to formation of rifts, mountains, and basins around the world. He has experience of working in both indoor (laboratory and office) and outdoor (remote field works on land and sea) environments and has experienced challenges involved in these settings for disabled students. He has been an active advocate for inclusion over the last several years and most recently was successful in getting CART services available for one of the geoscience conferences. Currently, he works at Apple as a geospatial expert during the day and advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion in geosciences whenever possible. Dr. Jha received his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences in 2019 at Colorado State University.

Sumant Jha Headshot

Dr. Jim Vanderploeg has over 40 years of experience in aerospace medicine with a career spanning medical support for the NASA Space Shuttle program, serving as Chief Medical Officer and now Senior Medical Advisor for Virgin Galactic, and the clinical practice of civilian aviation medicine.  He is Adjunct Professor of Aerospace Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.  His previous work included Executive Director and Principal Investigator on multiple research projects of the FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation; evaluation of airline pilots seeking special issuance authorization for medical certification following recovery from medical or psychological problems; and training physicians in the specialty of aerospace medicine.  Dr. Vanderploeg served as a medical advisor and participant on the Zero-G flight for Professor Stephen Hawking in 2007 and has continue his interest in making space flight available to people with all levels of ability.  As Virgin Galactic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vanderploeg was responsible for developing and implementing the medical programs for spaceflight participants, Virgin Galactic pilots, and other employees.  

Dr. Vanderploeg is President of the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine, Past President of the Aerospace Medical Association, and is Board Certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in both Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Medicine.  He has numerous publications, including medical results from research using centrifuge exposure to simulate the G forces of a suborbital space flight.

Rebecaa Bresnik Headshot

Rebecca M. Bresnik is the Associate Chief Counsel for International Matters at NASA. Ms. Bresnik started her legal career in 1999, clerking for the Superior Court of New Jersey, in Camden, New Jersey. She then took a position as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the General Counsel of the Air Force at the Pentagon in 2000. During her time at the Pentagon she also worked for the Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. In 2004, Ms. Bresnik took a position with Northrop Grumman’s Air Combat Systems and Unmanned Air Systems. In 2004, Ms. Bresnik joined the Office of Chief Counsel at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) and is presently the Associate Chief Counsel for International Matters and the lead attorney for International Space Station legal issues. She is also a Professor of Space Law and faculty advisor for the Space Law Society at the University of Houston Law Center. She has also lectured as a Fulbright Specialist overseas on topics of space law.

Tracey L. Knutson's Headshot

Tracey Knutson's law practice focuses completely on defense of recreation and adventure activity entities (commercial operators, non-profits, public land administrators, educators, insurers, etc.) so she sees risk management issues from both the proactive stance (drafting releases, permit applications, operations plans, legislation, in-house training, etc.) to the reactive stance (dealing with litigation and defense of actual claims made against operators).  She has been speaking publicly in the arena of recreation risk management for 25+ years and has spoken both nationally and internationally to groups that range from the emerging Commercial Human Spaceflight industry to the America Outdoors Association to the Colorado River Outfitters Association to the Dude Ranchers Association, WRMC, etc.  She serves as general counsel to large entities like the American Alpine Club, O.A.R.S., etc. and is regularly hired by insurance companies both to defend lawsuits and to look at underwriting standards for recreational insurance products.

Sheyna Gifford Headshot

Dr. Sheyna Gifford is an Aerospace Researcher and Rehabilitation Physician. She is also the founder of Women in Aerospace Medicine, a STEM mentor and educator, professional science communicator, and simulated astronaut. She was the crew health and safety officer for HI-SEAS IV, the longest space analog in US history, and a mission specialist on HERA VI, a simulated mission to Mars-crossing asteroid Geographos. She received dual-degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003, a Masters of Science in Biotechnology in 2005, an MD in 2013, a Masters in Science Journalism in 2015, and an MBA in 2019. She has worked as an aerospace engineer for Berkeley Space Science Laboratories (rHESSI satellite, power systems), a cosmologist (DEEP2 sky survey, Dr. Marc Davis), a researcher in psychology and neuroscience at Berkeley, Brown, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital, and has more than a hundred publications spanning health, space, science, and medical education. She has given numerous public presentations on how Space Needs Everyone and aspires to make space travel safe, affordable, and accessible to everyone who needs space.

Rachel Lyons Headshot

Dr. Daniel J. Lundberg is a Deaf professor of chemistry and the director for both the Biology and Chemistry & Physics Programs at Gallaudet University.  After becoming deaf from spinal meningitis at the age of 15 months, his family and educators worked hard to ensure he had full access to the knowledge and experiences that his hearing classmates had growing up.  After graduating from Gallaudet with a biology B.S., working as a post-bac at the National Cancer Institute, and completing his pharmacology Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Dan returned to his alma mater and has taught at Gallaudet for the past 13 years.  He currently serves as the Gallaudet affiliate for the NASA DC Space Grant consortium and is the faculty advisor for the astronomy club.  Dan enjoys sharing the wonders of the sciences with his family, students and advocating for the deaf/hard of hearing’s equal access and opportunities in space exploration.

Rachel Lyons Headshot
Rachel Lyons is a key advocate in the advancement of the space perspective and exploration. Rachel is the Executive Director of Space for Humanity, a non-profit organizing the planet’s first Citizen Astronaut Mission led by a diverse group of leaders from around the globe. Rachel is the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – USA, a non-profit that empowers young people to make an impact in space exploration. She is a former public radio host. She holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and Economics from the University of Miami.
Michaela Deming Headshot
Michaela Deming graduated cum laude in May 2021 from The Ohio State University (OSU) with a B.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics and a minor in Scandinavian Studies. She began working with the SciAccess Initiative as a member of the OSU Dept. of Astronomy’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, where she helped organize the SciAccess 2020 Conference. Since then, she helped found the SciAccess Zenith Mentorship Program, serving as its first president from October 2020 to May 2021. A member of Sigma Pi Sigma, her other work in astronomy outreach includes volunteering as a telescope operator at the Smith Lab Observatory, training as a presenter at the Arne Slettebak Planetarium, and giving educational talks to all-ages audiences.
Evelyn Stefli Headshot

Jody Greenhalgh is a passionate and experienced occupational therapist (OT) who works at Stanford University Medical Center - Healthcare and Stanford Medicine Alliance for Disability Inclusion and Equity (SMADIE). She provides clinical services, resources, and advocacy for people with diverse physical and mental health needs, especially those impacted by trauma, illness, and disability. She also conducts research and education on disability inclusion and health justice. Jody holds degrees in occupational therapy and psychology from San Jose State University and Notre Dame De Namur University and is currently pursuing her doctorate at Saybrook University.

She is a leader in various fields, such as hospital ethics, disability advocacy, and emergency medical care. She has extensive experience in facilitating critical incident debriefings, moderating groups of high-risk women living with HIV, and supporting children with life-threatening diseases and their families. Her work has been published in academic journals and books, and she has co-authored articles on topics such as wheelchair selection and muscular dystrophy. Jody has also coordinated outreach events for children with special needs and promoted therapeutic canine assistance services. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and professional conferences, and an international traveler who has participated in the OT Ambassador Delegation to Costa Rica and attended the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress in South Africa and France.

Peter Anto Johnson Headshot

Peter Anto Johnson is the research program coordinator at the Antarctic Institute of Canada, TEDx speaker, innovator, and Integrated Community Clerk at the University of Alberta completing clerkship in Bonnyville. Peter is the co-founder of Sharpen the Quill, a remote national internship supporting 200+ students year-round. He is passionate about bridging access for those with disabilities across the globe.

Marilyn McPoland Headshot

Marilyn McPoland's professional career has piloted her into holding such positions as Senior Director of Operations for the X PRIZE, Director of Programs for the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, and Executive Producer, and Founder of the Pierfest Sea and Air Show. Currently Marilyn holds the position of Executive Director of Events at California State University, Dominguez Hills. In this role, she oversees a department that manages in excess of 60 annual events, including the annual South Bay Economic Forecast now in its 9th year which she founded, and is attended by more than 250 leading industry professionals. She is also involved in creating a documentary on the Dominguez Hills 1910 Air Meet. Marilyn has served on Boards for the American Marketing Association, the Association of Western States Aviation Museums, the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She formerly held the position Treasurer for the LA-LV AIAA Section, and currently serves as the Deputy Director Finance, Regional Advisory Committee VI for AIAA.

Dr. Emily Matula Headshot

Dr. Emily Matula is currently at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX working as an EVA flight controller/instructor. She earned her undergrad degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), master’s degree in space engineering from the University of Michigan, and her PhD in Bioastronautics (human spaceflight) at the University of Colorado (Boulder). Her passion is human spaceflight and making sure humans can explore the universe as safely as possible. Outside of work she enjoys working on cars, riding motorcycles, playing with Arduinos, and volunteering with k-12 students to get them excited about STEM fields.

Hana Sav Headshot

Hanna Sav is an undergraduate engineering student at the International University in Germany, is dedicated to promoting sustainable exploration and development of space and equal opportunity for space travel. Her passion for contributing to the advancement of space exploration stems from a lifelong interest in the field. As a skilled project and event manager, Anna is committed to leading and coordinating technical projects and events that positively impact the space industry and beyond, while inspiring the next generation of space enthusiasts.

Zach Damon Headshot

Zach Damon is an award-winning professional actor, voice actor, and broadcaster. His voice can be heard on stations all across the United States and Canada. He is also the owner of Zach Damon Productions, LLC. The company produces local television, radio, and web-based media content for distribution. Since the early 1990s, Zach has been an advocate for disability issues through public speaking and media work. He first joined Astro Access as Member of the Ground Crew for Zero-G Mission Flight 2 in Houston, Texas. He believes strongly in the mission of Astro Access in promoting disability inclusion in space exploration and is humbled and honored to be a part of the Astro Access team.

Ayo Headshot

Adeife Ayomide JIDE-OMOLE is a Nigeria qualified lawyer specializing in Aviation and space law. She obtained her Master’s degree in Aviation and space from Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2020 and a Masters' in Private and Jurisprudence law from Babcock University. She serves as the Co-General Counsel for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and is a Fellow at the ‘For all Moonkind for Space Law and Ethics.’ She also serves as the managing director of the Space futures forum of the Caribbean Space Society and is the convener of the successful Vlog ‘More to space than Air’

Shateara Hall Headshot

Shateara Hall is a Higher Education consultant with a policy and research background. She is a former educator with interests in space exploration and inclusion. Her passion for space and innovation led her to pursue an MBA in Aerospace and Defense, which she is currently completing at the University of Tennessee. She also holds a bachelor’s of science in Education from the College of Charleston and a Master’s of Public Policy from Vanderbilt University.

John Lee Headshot

John Lee has 23 years of experience as an assistive technology professional and occupational therapist. John currently provides assistive technology (AT) consultations and training to students registered with the Disability Resource Center at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. In addition, he consults with Cal Poly faculty and staff in the area of digital accessibility, ensuring that all campus members and visitors have equal access to electronic documents, audio/video, websites, and electronic products. He enjoys collaborating with Cal Poly engineering students on assistive technology design projects.
John is also an active member of the local disability/accessibility advocacy group, Access For All, which strives to cultivate an accessible San Luis Obispo county where people with disabilities have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. As a lifelong disabled person who uses a power-assist wheelchair, he is passionate about promoting disability as diversity and accessibility as inclusion, both on Earth and beyond.

Dr. Vanessa Farsadaki Headshot

Dr. Vanessa Farsadaki is the preeminent thought-leader towards advancing the discipline of Space Medicine. A proud American citizen of Greek descent and a Medical Doctor, Dr. V as she is known colloquially, is on-track to become Greece’s first-ever Astronaut in history. She is a scuba diver, a pilot in training and a skydiver. As the President and Managing Partner of Space Exploration Strategies LLC, Dr. V’s impressive bona fides include advanced degrees in Biology, Genetics, Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Business Leadership. She has authored and co-authored a plethora of articles advocating for advancements in her field of expertise, and her deep experiences with Radiation Exposure and Protection have made her a sought-after advisor on high-end programs of note for the gravitas she brings to the discussions. Additionally, her fluency in 18 languages is a testament to her ability to engage with a broad range of audiences, and thus she continues to serve as a keynote speaker at numerous fora to include the prestigious Kings College in London, England and many other universities internationally. She has won numerous awards among which the International Trailblazer award for her futurist work in Space Medicine. She is a British Interplanetary Society fellow and the youngest Space Ambassador to be ever recognized by the National Space Society.

Andi Limon Headshot

Andi Limon is an accomplished marketing manager with a strong background in the aerospace & defense industry. As a deaf traveler with cochlear implants, Andi is a dedicated advocate for accessible transportation from ground to space. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in Communications from Syracuse University, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role as a Director of Communications at AstroAccess.

John Kemp Headshot

John D. Kemp, Esq. (he/him), is the President & CEO, Lakeshore Foundation and is a widely respected leader in the disability rights movement. He is also an accomplished executive in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. A person with a disability, John co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities. He currently serves as President and CEO of Lakeshore Foundation, an internationally recognized organization providing opportunities for individuals with physical disability to lead healthy, active lives through physical activity, sports, research, and advocacy. In addition, John chairs Delta Air Lines’ Advisory Board on Disability and serves on the boards of directors of Inclusively.com and Galt Foundation. Among his many honors, two of the most meaningful to John are the Henry B. Betts Award, regarded as America’s highest honor for disability leadership and service, and the Dole Leadership Prize. Dole award recipients include Nelson Mandela and two former U.S. Presidents. A renowned global speaker, John inspires others to achieve greatness through knowledge, experience, vision, and persistence. His latest book, Disability Friendly: How to Move from Clueless to Inclusive, is a clarion call to businesses around the world to realize the opportunities presented by employing people with disabilities. It explains the potential of disabled employees and how to create a culture of inclusion and, in the process, help people with disabilities become proud contributors. John believes everyone should have the opportunity to reach for the stars, including participating in space travel.

As an AstroAccess Ambassador, John is helping to make that future a reality by having participated in a zero-gravity flight with fifteen other disabled ambassadors in December 2022. The tests they conduct during the two-hour flight should open the way for inclusive space travel and encourage STEM careers. John is a graduate of Georgetown University and Washburn University School of Law. He and his wife, Sameta, enjoy spending time with their family, including five grandsons.

Jenny Leland Headshot

Jenny Leland is a seasoned project manager and researcher with a focus on accessibility and inclusive design. In her current role at Starbucks Coffee Company, she leads projects and teams to research, develop, and scale solutions that raise the bar with accessibility innovation in built store environments. She also previously supported the concepting and launch of Starbucks US Signing Store located near Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Starbucks, Jenny’s educational and professional background has focused on public policy and international development. This experience has included studying and working in Japan, China, Switzerland, South Africa, and Tunisia, as well as in Washington, DC. at the US Department of State. There she worked closely with several foreign service officers who are blind or have low vision and with members of the US delegation to the negotiating sessions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She has a longstanding interest in space flight and is thrilled to combine personal and professional interests to support Mission: AstroAcess.

Luticia Doucette Headshot

Luticha André Doucette is the author of the groundbreaking book: Cultivating An Intersectional Mindset. She graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Bioinformatics where she developed protein surface prediction algorithms. After graduating, she was a Fellow at the University of Rochester where she worked in a genomics lab that focused on analyzing the venom of parasitoid wasps to develop new drug therapies for various diseases. In 2017 she authored a report on wage disparities across race, gender, and disability in Rochester and Monroe County in conjunction with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and in 2018 authored a follow-up report on employment barriers for disabled people in Rochester and Monroe County. She is a graduate of the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program and an AUCD Emerging Leader an inductee into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and the 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awardee from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Luticha’s research and writing has been featured in various publications such as Insect Molecular Biology, Toxicon, The New York Times, and Yes! Magazine. She is a former founding member of Rochester Accessible Adventures and she helped change the landscape, and attitudes, around inclusive recreation in New York State. She is the owner of Catalyst Consulting, which helps organizations, leaders, and advocates examine equity across race, gender identity, and disability in policies, practices, procedures, and relationships. In her spare time she is a fencer, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast.

Christian Campo Headshot

Christian Campo is an Electronics and Systems Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Lab. His passion for space exploration has led him to pursue a career in the space industry as well as committing to make space accessible for all. Christian has made significant contributions in multiple NASA missions in which he has lead the effort of designing, fabricating and testing Flight Hardware for Avionics, Power, and Telecom Subsystems. Some of his contributions and hardware are currently part of missions such as NASA Parker Solar Probe, NASA Europa Clipper, and the first successful planetary defense mission, the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART). Christian currently serves as a hardware lead for the Actuator Control Electronics of the Dragonfly Mission, which will be the first rotorcraft to the surface of Titan. Christian migrated to the US from Colombia in 2010 and received his Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Electrical Engineering from the City College of New York in 2017 as well as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2020.