Graduate Students

Space Policy Institute Alumna Jenn Makins with Astronaut Sunita Williams



Space Policy Institute Alumna Stephanie Wan with Chinese Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang

Current M.A. Candidates


NATHAN BOLLis a first year Graduate Fellow at the Space Policy Institute where he focuses on international cooperation toward the exploration and development of outer space. He holds a Master of Science in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Mathematics from the University of Montana Western. Nathan currently serves as a Mirzayan Graduate Fellow to the Space Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Previously, he has held several posts at NASA, including positions at the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) at NASA Headquarters, the Office of Education at the Glenn Research Center, and the Planetary Science Division at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In addition, Nathan has served multiple terms as a member of the Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) Advisory Board and as a NASA Student Ambassador.


Chris Beauregard PhotoCHRIS BEAUREGARD is a first year student who is pursuing a master's degree through The Space Policy Institute to utilize his background in business development and interest in commercial spaceflight to craft a meaningful career in the space industry. He aims to work in an international capacity for organizations providing launch systems and exploration capabilities to demonstrate their commercial viability and importance to society. After receiving his undergraduate degree from The University of South Carolina, Chris held a position in business development in the Washington DC office of ThyssenKrupp, a global technology and materials company.


RYAN GREEN is a first year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from the University of Idaho with a B.S. in Political Science and History, with additional postbaccalaureate coursework in engineering and business accounting. His political experience began working in local Congressional offices, and now includes work under the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and with the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. His policy interests include the exploitation of space resources, as well as opportunities for international cooperation and the establishment of long term space objectives.


ZACHARY HESTER is a second year student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.S. in Political Science in 2011.  In 2015, Zack served as the project lead for a capstone team that analyzed past U.S. commercialization efforts to produce policy recommendations for NASA’s Office of Commercial Spaceflight.  Zack has interned on the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics and is currently a consultant in Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Practice.

Natalie KauppiNATALIE KAUPPI is a first year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. During her undergraduate experience, she spent a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science and graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in International Relations and Comparative Politics. After four years in New York City, she decided to pursue her interest in space exploration and military technology. She hopes to contribute to military policy and the role of space in international relations and currently works at RAND..


Ekaterina KhvostovaEKATERINA (KAT) KHVOSTOVA is a first year graduate student and a master's candidate at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied physics and astronomy. At UNC, she spent two years as an undergraduate research assistant on astrophysics projects and spent her senior year studying French, Russian, and political science abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, France. She has worked as a legislative affairs intern at NASA Langley and NASA Headquarters and currently works as a business development assistant at NanoRacks and DreamUp on international business ventures. Kat also serves on the board of the Space Frontier Foundation and is chairing the organization’s annual NewSpace conference. Her research interests are focused on policy to facilitate private industry growth and increased international collaboration in space. Her other interests include advocating for STEAM education, promoting gender equality in the science and tech world (and everywhere), studying plant life, stargazing, bike riding, making quesadillas, and playing with dogs.


Moon KimMOON KIM is a second year student at Space Policy Institute.  He received his B.A. in Finance and Economics from Robert H. Smith Business School of University of Maryland, College Park in 2007.  Prior to joining SPI, Moon was with Morgan Stanley for 7 years in US, Hong Kong, and South Korea, dealing with capital markets and then with equity markets, specializing in operational efficiency and management.  He is interested in development of space policies, both US and international, and particularly interested in space commercialization and involvement and interaction of governmental policies in commercial space markets.  He is currently working as a resources analyst at the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office of NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.  


Cody KnipferCODY KNIPFER is a first year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated summa cum laude from McDaniel College's honors program in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs, where he focused on the domestic and geopolitics of the Middle East and the People’s Republic of China. He spent half a year as a space policy intern with the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and is currently an Associate at PoliSpace, a space policy consultancy, and the Corporate Secretary of the Space Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization advocating for the permanent human settlement of outer space. His research and policy interests include the fostering of stronger private-public partnerships in the space sector and the application of space activity for international and geopolitical aims.


KATE MCGINNIS is a second year ISTP student focusing on Space Policy.  She graduated with a bachelors and masters in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 2008 after working on the student satellite team, CUSat, which launched in 2013.  She has since worked in the aerospace industry in California and the DC region.  Her goal is to learn more about the policy considerations that drive the space industry in the US and the world.  She is particularly interested in science satellites and the interactions between civil, military, and international space powers concerning the resulting data.


Etim OffiongETIM OFFIONG is a graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) from the Politecnico di Torino in Turin, Italy, where he contributed to the development of a prototype hybrid positioning system that combines Ultra Wideband (UWB) and GNSS signals. This system is very effective for localisation and navigation, particularly inside buildings. He is an alumnus of the International Space University, Strasburg, France (SSP10) where he participated in the Asteroid Mining Team Project. His interests include small satellite applications, international cooperation in space traffic management, and satellite navigation.


DEVIN OSTING is a second year student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from Western Washington University in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science/Philosophy/Economics, where he was active in intercollegiate debate. For the last three years, Devin has worked at LMG, a public affairs firm, working on aviation issues. Before that, he worked on political campaigns in Washington state, including Senator Patty Murray’s. He is interested in the commercial and civil sector space sectors, and the policy challenges that new uses of space creates.


TRENT SCHINDLER is a second year student at the Space Policy Institute. Trent graduated with a B.S. in Physics in 1995 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he performed research in the area of high-pressure physics. He went on to receive an M.S. in Meteorology from Penn State University in 2000, with an interdisciplinary concentration in the fields of planetary atmospheres, exoplanets, and astrobiology. Since graduation Trent has worked in the area of scientific animation and visualization. His work has appeared widely in print, broadcast, and Web media, including among others Nature, PBS NOVA, Scientific American, and CNN. Trent is currently a member of the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he creates visualizations based on remote-sensing datasets from Earth science missions. 


MAYA SHARMA  is a second year student at the Space Policy Institute.  Maya completed her B.A. from George Washington University's Elliott School, majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in International Politics, and a minor in Political Science.  While at GWU, Maya interned with a Congressional campaign, the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, The Glover Park Group, and as a Senior Fellow at University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies. Currently, Maya works in Government and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the premier trade association representing the consumer technologies industry.  In this role, she focuses on advocating for regulatory policies that promote innovation, disruptive technologies, and entrepreneurship.  At the Space Policy Institute, Maya is interested in the development of the commercial space sector and global space governance.


MICHAEL SLOAN  is a first year graduate student. He earned a B.S. in Political Science from Florida State University, where I graduated magna cum laude. Prior to attending graduate school he worked for a few years at a private company. His research focus is on aerospace and defense research, development, and acquisition processes.


KENTARO TANAKA is a second year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He majored in Physics at Chiba University in Japan, where he studied the formation of celestial bodies and the large-structure of the universe. During his studies, he wrote a thesis titled “Simulation of Astrophysical Jets and Visualization of the Phenomenon in 3D”. After Chiba University, he has been working for the SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, a Japanese satellite operator and telecommunication & broadcasting service provider based in Tokyo. He has experience working in Hong Kong, where he did marketing for the Asia- Oceania telecommunication satellite industry, and in Tokyo developing one of the largest PPP project in Japan in the Japanese space & defense field.


WILLIAM WEST is a second year student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida in 2011 with a BA in Geography and a minor in Linguistics, with additional postbaccalaureate coursework in geographic information systems and spatial epidemiology at the University of Florida. He has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Gainesville, where he worked in cartographic production, landcover analysis, and digital processing of aerial photography. He has interned at the National Air and Space Museum's Aeronautics department and at NASA's Office of Interagency and International Relations. His policy interests include international cooperation in space and the use of satellites in remote sensing and in planetary science research.


Josh WolnyJOSH WOLNY is a first year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. Most recently, Josh has been an 8th grade science teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. In the process of educating his students, Josh found that the coming decades are shaping up to be a bonanza for space exploration, and he wanted to be involved. Combining his bachelor's degree in International Relations and his experience translating difficult scientific concepts into understandable chunks Josh plans on working with policy makers and the public to increase support for further space exploration. Josh is most interested in commercialization, building international coalitions, and breakthrough technologies. 


»SPI Director, Scott Pace is quoted in the Politico article How Elon Musk eposed billions in questionable Pentagon spending discussing the role of ULA in American space capabilities.

»SPI Director, Scott Pace, testifies in front of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Environment on NOAA Utilization of Commercial Remote Sensing Data.

»SPI Director, Scott Pace, testifies in front of the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation committee on U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness. His testimony is available online.

»On October 16, 2015, the Space Policy Institute hosted an informal discussion during which Dr. Philippe Brunet, European Commission Director for Space Policy, Copernicus, and Defense Industry described the plans of the European Union to become the primary European actor in space policy and programs.

»Current SPI Graduate Student Zack Hester's article NASA's Lessons Learned in Long-Duration Spaceflight: The Shuttle-Mir Program was published in Quest Vol. 23, No. 1, 2016.

»SPI Alum Mia Brown wrote an article titled Launch Dilemna: The role of the commercial sector in America's space program which was published by the Brookings Institution.

»Prof. Jack Burns, Vice President Emeritus at the University of Colorado, presented a distinguished lecture "Exploring the Universe from the Moon". It can be viewed online

»Dr. Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute, spoke on The Implications of U.S. Space Policy Choices at the California Institute of Technology. A video of the lecture is available for viewing here.

»Dr. Scott Pace, Visiting Scholar Deganit Paikowsky, and four SPI alumni attended the 2015 International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem.

»Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund, SPI Research Professor, became Chair of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Read the announcement here.

»SPI Alum, Stephanie Wan, has been elected as Co-chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council. Congratulations Stephanie! Further information is available online.

»SPI hosts "Careers in Space Policy: A Panel Discussion" with the American Institute of Astronautics and Astrophysics National Capital Section Young Professionals Committee and the GW AIAA Student Chapter.

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