Meet The Team
Dr. Mindy Howard
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Mindy Howard has set out to passionately achieve her dream of going to space. After her 21-year career in the oil industry, working in 35 different countries as a human factors engineer, diversity & inclusiveness consultant, corporate trainer and senior leader in sustainability, health safety, and environment, Dr. Howard created the first and only mental preparedness training program for commercial astronauts, “Inner Space Training”. She has appeared on the Discovery and Travel TV Channels, and on radio both in the United States and in Europe. Dr. Howard is also a TEDx and public speaker (“Train your fear away, like an astronaut”). She is author of the book, "Blast Off! Train like an Astronaut for Success on Earth".
A word from the Founder of Cosmic Girls...
"My long-held vision of voyaging to space has taken the “scenic route”. For two decades I have held senior positions at multinational corporations, travelling to exotic international locales with my cosmic dreams ever in tow. However, my space travels will be incomplete without having contributed to that of a Cosmic Girl’s launch, on behalf of the incoming space generation and females in particular. I created this foundation with hopes of exceeding donor & benefactor expectations so as to enable more Cosmic Girls from the far corners like myself to not only flourish … but soar".
Chief Communications & Creative Officer
As Founder, CEO and edutainment producer, Alison is party planning a multi-continental, interstellar event-spectacular to shift the worldwide emotional climate called Synchronistory®; a Party for the Planet starring every sentient being in a music-driven celebration about us all – broadcast live worldwide!
Peter J. Guercio
Peter J. Guercio is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer, and consultant. He is the founder and CEO of a global semiconductor company that specializes in advanced ceramics.
His technologies have enabled the production of next-generation ICs, power devices, and LED technologies.
He holds seven international patents and serves as the group CEO for a portfolio of companies owned by a large American private equity firm.
He has expertise in global business, M&A, and finance, which he hopes to use to support Cosmic Girls.
As a father of three girls, he is passionate about empowering women and helping Cosmic Girls reach for the stars.
President of the Advisory Board
Creator of Janet’s Planet is committed to enriching the lives of children via education and live performances, TV, and online programming. With over 29 years in children’s entertainment and education, Janet has captivated Nashville and beyond with her work. She has received twelve Regional Emmys and five Gracie Awards, for Janet’s Planet, which airs on 140+ public television stations nationwide. Janet is a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador, has won a STEM-FLORIDA Award for "Exploring Microgravity,” an educational video about gravity and microgravity that she wrote and produced for Space Florida. Janet’s Planet is a dynamic and fast-paced series geared to 7-12-year-olds and focuses on science, space, history, and health. The short-form series can be seen on public television stations nationwide as well YouTube, BatteryPop, Minnow, and HighBrow in the UK. Janet is an advocate, educator, communicator, and female role model of STEM/STEAM and is committed to sharing the joy of exploration and discovery with children around the globe. Janet’s mission is to encourage science literacy globally and particularly to embody the role of female science mentor for the next generation of women in space and science.
Nicole Stott is an astronaut, aquanaut, engineer, artist, and author of Back to Earth What Life In Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet – And Our Mission To Protect It; and most importantly a mom. She creatively combines the awe and wonder of her spaceflight experience with her artwork to inspire everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on Spaceship Earth.
Nicole is a veteran NASA Astronaut with two spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space as a crewmember on both the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Personal highlights of her time in space include being the 10th woman to perform a spacewalk, first person to operate the ISS robotic arm to capture a free-flying cargo vehicle, painting the first watercolor in space (on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum), working with her international crew for the benefit of all life on Earth, and of course the life-changing view of our home planet.
Nicole is also a NASA Aquanaut. In preparation for spaceflight, she was a crewmember on an 18-day saturation dive mission at the Aquarius undersea laboratory.
Nicole believes that the international model of peaceful and successful cooperation we have experienced in the extreme environments of space and sea holds the key to the same kind of peaceful and successful cooperation for all of humanity here on Earth.
On her post-NASA mission, she is a founding director of the Space for Art Foundation — uniting a planetary community of children through the awe and wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art.
Katya is a Mexican electrical engineer, science communicator, and Citizen Astronaut. She worked at NASA, first as an intern during her university undergraduate career, then later as a test lead for the Europa Clipper Ground Support Equipment group. She has contributed to a total of five NASA missions.
Echazarreta was the co-host of Netflix's YouTube series, Netflix IRL, while pursuing a Master's degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She became the first Mexican-born woman in space as part of Space for Humanity's Citizen Astronaut Program, launched June 4, 2022. The Space For Humanity initiative selected Echazarreta out of over 7,000 applicants to fly to space with Blue Origin NS-21 as a Space for Humanity Ambassador
Shelli Brunswick, COO of Space Foundation, brings a broad perspective and deep vision of the global space ecosystem — from a distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader and congressional liaison for the U.S. Air Force to her current role overseeing Space Foundation's three primary divisions: Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365, and Global Alliance.
Glenn King is the COO and Director of the NASTAR Center, and has been conducting Commercial Space Flight Training for more than 14 years. He is an Aerospace Physiologist and Commercial Pilot. He obtained the USA’s very first FAA AST Commercial Space Flight Certification that meets the Space Flight Training requirements under 14 CFR § Part 460.5 (Issued Sept. 2012). He has personally trained all the Commercial Space Pilots, Crew and Space Flight Participants for Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Axiom Space.
Hi, I’m Lizzy, a seasoned social media manager with a background in marketing, project management, and photography. I thrive on creating engaging online experiences and driving brand success. Beyond the digital world, you’ll find me exploring nature through hiking, attending concerts, indulging in all forms of art, traveling to new places, and snowboarding!
Prof. Vladimir Pletser
Vladimir Pletser (PhD, MSc, MEng) is currently Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss, a company in UK proposing a new approach for astronaut training.
He was previously Visiting Professor and Scientific Adviser from 2016 until 2018 at the Technology and Engineering Centre for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, supporting Chinese Space Station and aircraft parabolic flight microgravity experiments. Astronaut candidate for Belgium, he spent two months in training in 1995 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and was Astronaut Training Instructor for parabolic flights and Spacelab missions.
Creator of art experiences that are expressed in multidisciplinary ways of art, which she produces alone or in collaboration with other artists, collectives and or organizations. Due to learnings in her life with her own identity, sexuality, mental health/self development, culture(s), equality, creative expression and death - especially in these fields she is eager to find where friction can be explored and share this with others. This in a safe space intended to let this friction, the joy, the awkwardness, the unseen parts of yourself, your source, the true authentic you come together and evoke transformational awe through art. Experiences that she materializes are in the form of an exhibition, a ritual, installation, performance, 2D format or immersive show and have taken place at numerous festivals and events internationally.
Rodney Whittenberg is an Emmy Award winning composer and an Emmy nominated film producer. He is also a multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer, sound designer, music producer, writer, podcast producer, film director, editor, producer, and educator.
Frank White is an educator, space philosopher, and communications consultant. He has authored or coauthored numerous books on topics ranging from space exploration to artificial intelligence to Zen Buddhism. His best-known work is The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. https://www.humanspaceprogram.org
Jeska Clark is a consultant, scientist, and explorer with an MA in Human Systems Engineering from Arizona State University. She specializes in human factors in extreme environments, from the sea to microgravity environments. Her career has centered on optimizing human performance and safety in these challenging conditions, contributing significantly to the field.
Melodie Yashar is a space architect, technologist, and researcher. She is the VP of Building Design & Performance at ICON, a construction technologies company focused on large scale additive manufacturing for Earth and in space.
Deborah Stern, PhD., is a long-time educator with extensive experience working in underserved communities. She specializes in school design and curriculum, focusing on experiential education. She is an award-winning teacher, school leader, and author of numerous publications. Dr. Stern believes that true learning happens when learners see themselves, their interests, and their experiences reflected in their studies.
Vered Cohen Barlizay
Vered Cohen Barzilay is the founder and CEO of Out of the Box Aerospace a social enterprise that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship in aerospace worldwide. A passionate advocate for aviation, space, STEAM education, and gender equality, Cohen Barzilay has made significant strides in these fields.
Cohen Barzilay has been serving as a mentor for UNOOSA's Space4Women initiative since 2020 and has been a mentor at the Starburst IAI space accelerator since its inception.
In 2020, the U.S. Department of State recognized Cohen-Barzilay in their 80 #FacesofExchange initiative, alongside Margaret Thatcher, Jacinda Ardern
and Anwar El-Sadat.
Priya is an aspiring astronaut and entrepreneur pursuing Aerospace Engineering at Cornell Engineering.
She is a Congressional Award Gold Medalist, an internationally awarded innovator, and a published researcher. She is a Citizen Science Astronaut Trainee at the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences trained in spacesuit evaluation, acrobatic flying, and designed and flew payloads on microgravity research flight.
Dr. Tim Schlange
International Business Advisor
Tim is a seasoned senior business advisor for international businesses. C-level leadership responsibilities with international companies, founded upon engineering and management degrees Tim´s focus is the commercialization of innovation, particularly in the global life sciences and material sciences industries.
CEO of successful international sports coaching business for over 20 years. Olympic-level water polo athlete, trainer and coach with innate drive to motivate high-potential teams and individuals to excel. Sports entrepreneur and businessman.
CEO and Founder of Mirror Mirror helping teams and organizations with alignment for performance around the world. Lindsay is a thought-leader and speaker on alignment.
Prof. Dr. Michael Golombok
Michael Golombok has a BSc and PhD from the Universities of Glasgow and Toronto respectively. He is a principal researcher at Shell. He is a professor of mechanical engineering at TU Eindhoven, where he holds the chair of oil and gas production technology.