Coalition for Space Exploration appoints Gen Y board members

The Coalition for Space Exploration today announced the addition of seven new individuals - all "Generation Y" young adults - to its board of advisors,: Kelly Billon of Clermont, Fla., Lauren Booth of Phoenix, Ariz., Joshua Neubert of Las Cruces, N. M., Damaris Sarria of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Audrey Schaffer of Washington, D.C., Alexander Stimpson of Clermont, Fla. and Erika Wagner of Somerville, Mass. Their primary role as advisory board members will be to promote the importance of space exploration to the next generation of explorers and enthusiasts.

These seven individuals join space pioneers like Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Academy-award winning filmmaker James Cameron, renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey and other public leaders who share the Coalition's mission to enhance the public's awareness and understanding of the value and benefits of space exploration.

"Each new member brings exciting perspectives and insights to the challenge of communicating the value of our nation's investment in space to younger generations of Americans," said Joe Mayer, chair of the Coalition's Public Affairs Team. "We are pleased to have them collaborating with the team of seasoned professionals and educators currently serving on our advisory board."

Kelly Billon is pursuing a communications degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Billon was the team leader representing the University in the 2007 NASA Means Business competition, in which her team tied for first place. She has consistently been named to the dean's list, worked as a peer mentor and has been named to Who's Who Among American College Students.

Lauren Booth graduated from Arizona State University as a member of the dean's list with a journalism and mass communications degree. She has held various public relations and communications positions with non-profit entities such as Children's Action Alliance, Make-A-Wish Foundation International and the Phoenix Zoo. Booth also was a key member of the 2007 NASA Means Business first place team from Arizona State University.

Joshua Neubert comes to the board with a Master and Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is currently the X Prize Cup event coordinator for the X Prize Foundation. He is a member of the National Space Society and the Space Frontier Foundation.

Damaris Sarria works for The Boeing Company at Kennedy Space Center in the Orbiter's Thermal Protection Systems division. She holds a master's degree and Bachelor of Science from Emby-Riddle Aeronautical University and Texas A&M University, respectively. Sarria's dream is to one day be an astronaut, which is detailed in her blog, "How I Am Becoming an Astronaut."

Audrey Schaffer completed her Master of Arts degree at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. Prior to her graduate work, she earned a Bachelor of Science from MIT. Schaffer is attending the International Space University in Beijing, China, this summer. Upon her return to the U.S. this fall, she will work full-time with the space professional development group for the United States Air Force.

Alexander Stimpson received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering from the University of Florida. He is participating in a Mars greenhouse study for plant growth in pressure-controlled environments. Stimpson also conducts tours of lab experiments for 4-H, middle- and high-school students to raise interest in engineering.

Erika Wagner is a doctoral student in the Harvard/MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. She holds a master's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. Wagner serves as Science Director for the Mars Gravity Biosatellite, a multi-university initiative working to increase understanding of Martian gravity levels and their effects on mammalian physiology.

"The aptitude, knowledge and passion for space these young people have is truly incredible," said Joan Underwood, deputy chair of the Coalition's Public Affairs team. "We have several projects slated for this group, including outreach efforts on MySpace, YouTube and other youth-oriented outlets."

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups whose mission is to educate and inform the public on the value and benefits of space exploration and to help ensure the United States will remain a leader in space, science and technology - key factors that will benefit every American, strengthen our nation's economy and maintain our national security. For more information about the Coalition for Space Exploration and the nation's Vision for Space Exploration, visit For more information on how to become an advocate for America's space program, visit

Source: Coalition for Space Exploration