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NSS Scholarship to the International Space University
2008 Winners

The National Space Society is pleased to announce the selection of the two winners of the Society’s 2008 International Space University scholarship. ISU is the international, intercultural, interdisciplinary institution founded to develop young space leaders. Based in Strasbourg, France, ISU holds its annual summer program in a different location each year. This year, the summer session will be held in Barcelona, Spain, and both of our winners will attend.

Jaganath Sankaran Jaganath Sankaran

Jaganath Sankaran has an engineering undergraduate degree and four years of work experience at India’s national aerospace research laboratories. He is now a graduate student at the University of Maryland’s Master of Engineering and Public Policy program. His concentration in the program is in international security and economic policy with a focus on space weapons policy. Sankaran expects to graduate from his master’s program into a doctorate in public policy at the University of Maryland.

Given his multidimensional interest in international security and space policy, the ISU summer sessions program is an ideal fit for him. He intends to benefi t immensely from participation in the 2008 ISU summer session and from the NSS scholarship that has enabled his attendance at the program. “I would... endeavor to maximize on the opportunities that the summer school provides, like the possibility of designing and flying a sounding rocket or the possibility of working in a neutral buoyancy lab. These are rare learning experiences that would enrich my engineering knowledge,” Sankaran writes.

ankaran’s interest in space weapons and international space cooperation stems from his experience at India’s defense laboratories where he was able to observe fi rst-hand the means by which national aerospace policies are formulated and ways in which they are influenced by national defense policies. In his future career, Sankaran intends to work with international organizations that deal with international security policies before returning to India to work with the government there.

Mariel John Mariel John

Mariel John has been involved in various aspects of the space industry throughout her undergraduate and graduate education, and is excited to take part in the multidisciplinary educational opportunity offered by ISU. John is currently pursuing a master’s degree at George Washington University in international science and technology policy, with a concentration in space policy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has worked as a systems engineer at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems for approximately two years.

In 2003, John worked in the MIT Man-Vehicle lab, focusing on advanced space suit design and materials research. In 2004, she worked at the NASA Headquarters Office of Physical and Biological Research, resulting in a published paper on NASA research policies. In 2006, she worked with a team of students at MIT on the design of a Mars rover. Most recently, she has done research on space weather and is currently completing a report on its effects on aviation and space systems. She is also working with the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, researching and writing about benefits of the International Space Station.

John is also interested in the international aspect of studying at ISU. During her undergraduate education, John studied abroad in Cambridge, England for one year and completed a minor in applied international studies. She has also spent a summer living in India and a month living in Zambia. John continues to manage an organization that helps students get involved in engineering for sustainable development in rural India.

John writes, “I believe that I could bring a lot to the ISU program. My background is multidisciplinary, allowing me to bridge the gap between technical issues, policy, and programmatic issues such as cost and schedule.... I understand the benefit of learning from people whose expertise is different from you — whether because of their academic studies, industry experience, or cultural background. I believe that this openness and willingness to learn will allow me to get the full benefit of the program.”

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Updated Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 22:04:28
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