Press Release

Coalition for Space Exploration appoints Gen Y board members

By SpaceRef Editor
July 11, 2007
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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

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

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

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,

SpaceRef staff editor.