Inspirational Women in STEM – EVONA Origin Stories Podcast
Christina Korp, better known as the Astronaut Wrangler, has an incredibly diverse set of skills and experience. She managed Buzz Aldrin for a decade, launched ShareSpace and Aldrin Family Foundation, produced galas at Kennedy Space Center, and created the award-winning VR experience “Cycling Pathways to Mars.” As the president of Purpose Entertainment, Christina promotes space exploration and social causes, including women’s rights. She led projects to commemorate the Women’s Vote Centennial in 2020 and currently leads SPACE For a Better World, an initiative raising funds for partner charities.
Nicole Stott is an artist, author, astronaut, aquanaut, engineer, former ISS resident, and director of the Space for Art Foundation. As a veteran NASA astronaut, having spent 104 days in space, Nicole has numerous accomplishments, including being the 10th woman to perform a spacewalk, operating the robotic arm to capture the first free-flying HTV, and collaborating on scientific research aimed at improving life on Earth. She also served on an 18-day saturation dive mission at the Aquarius undersea laboratory to prepare for spaceflight. In her book, “Back to Earth,” Nicole combines her spaceflight experiences with her artistic talents to inspire appreciation for our planet and the importance of protecting it. She also believes that the peaceful cooperation demonstrated in extreme environments like space and sea can serve as an example for humanity on Earth.
Heather Bulk is a highly accomplished leader in the aerospace industry, serving as the CEO of the SAS Family of Companies. These companies provide advanced manufacturing and tactical engineering services to top aerospace organizations. Heather is known for her impeccable business strategies and her ability to lead her teams to success. She is also a strong advocate for promoting STEM education and opportunities, co-founding the Who Dreams Wins Foundation. Through this foundation, she provides scholarships and tools to young people who dream of pursuing careers in STEM fields, inspiring and empowering the next generation of innovators.
Lucy Hoag is the co-founder and CEO of Violet Labs, a company that specializes in cloud-based software integration for complex hardware engineering projects. This platform streamlines the development process of spacecraft, launch vehicles, autonomous aircraft, drones, and self-driving cars by bringing data from all software tools into one place. As a female leader in the tech industry, Lucy is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and creating products that benefit underrepresented groups in technology. Her passion for empowering people through technology has led to the development of innovative solutions that provide access to opportunities for people who might not have had them otherwise.
After growing up on her parent’s farm in rural Iowa, Kelly actually started out her career as a yoga teacher. From here, a very surprising turn of events led her to where she is today – CEO of Aquarian Space, the world’s first high data rate internet service provider for the solar system. Kelly is passionate about inspiring other women to join STEM industries and is widely known for her innovative approaches to business. Her passion for connecting people and ideas across the globe has led her to become an expert in her field.
Martina Dimoska is a remarkable figure in the aerospace industry. Hailing from Kičevo, a small city in North Macedonia, she was named one of the Top Women in Aerospace and Aviation in 2022. On top of this, Martina made history by becoming the first female analog astronaut from the Balkans. She was the 2022 local lead for the NASA Space Apps Challenge, hosted in two prestigious locations: Mountain View in Silicon Valley, California and Cleveland. This annual challenge is a partnership with NASA Glenn Research Center in Ohio and co-organized by NASA Space Apps Challenge Strumica in her home country. In 2015, Martina was recognized as the most successful student at the Faculty of Technology & Metallurgy in Skopje, and she holds the distinction of being the youngest patent holder in North Macedonia. Through her position in the industry, Martina aims to inspire and empower people from underrepresented countries to pursue a career in space.
Sassie Duggleby is a co-founder and CEO of Venus Aerospace, a startup that aims to revolutionize the transportation industry by bringing Earth-based transportation up to speed with space travel. The company’s goal is to enable hypersonic transportation, allowing one-hour global transport. Apart from being a strong female leader in the sector, Sassie is a passionate advocate of empowering women in STEM and serves as a mentor to inspire change in the industry. Her experience and insights make her a valuable addition to any discussion surrounding innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Michal Ziso is a visionary space architect, TEDx speaker, and founder and CEO of ZISO Innovation + Architecture Lab. She is a graduate of the Architecture & Urban Planning Faculty at the Technion and the Politecnico di Milano, and an ISU Space Studies Program Alumni. As a mentor to young individuals, especially young women, at various forums such as UNOOSA Space4Women and ProWoman organization, Michal promotes courageous creative thinking, innovation through extreme conditions, and encourages all to become passionate change agents. Michal’s mission is to create a built environment in space and on earth that fits the needs of its diverse users to ensure a thriving human society. She actively raises awareness for gender and human equality through work with international organizations such as Global Citizen, UN Women, UN SDG global, and SDG Israel. Diviya Devani
Diviya Devani’s lifelong love of space, science and physics propelled her into the space sector. Named as one of 2022’s Top 100 Rising Stars in Science & Engineering, she’s a passionate advocate of women and young people in STEM, as well as the importance of diverse workforces. Diviya is a systems engineer specializing in quantum sensing in space. She has worked with top technical companies in her field and contributed to the development of cutting-edge technology for public and private organizations like the UK Space Agency and OneWeb. One of her notable achievements is leading a team to design, test, and build the first-ever quantum cube satellite in the UK and EU, a significant step towards developing a space quantum gravity sensor with practical applications in various industries. Her work has been published in top-tier journals and presented at internationally renowned conferences.
Stella Guillen is CCO of Isar Aerospace, a position in which she leads the company’s business development, sales, marketing, and strategy efforts. Stella is a passionate leader and a strong advocate of women in space and STEM. With an incredibly forward-thinking mindset, Stella is celebrating diversity and challenging outdated mentalities in the sector. With extensive experience in the satellite industry, Stella previously held several roles at SpaceX, where she played a crucial role in signing the company’s first European customers and generating over $1 billion in sales. She also held positions at Arianespace, Inc. and Spaceflight Industries, where she managed all aspects of launch services sales and marketing, and opened new markets to expand the customer base.
Kim Macharia is a dedicated advocate for increasing diversity and promoting accessibility in the space industry. As the executive director of the non-profit Space Prize Foundation, Kim works tirelessly to advance STEM education and enhance representation of women in aerospace careers. Her expertise in this field has led to her representing these companies at global events such as the UN World Space Forum. Throughout her career, Kim has been a passionate advocate for marginalized communities and has actively worked to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to engage in the growing space economy. As the Chair of the Space Frontier Foundation, she has initiated ambitious projects focused on Climate Change, Diversity & Inclusion, and STEM, all of which are designed to expand access to the space industry and promote a more equitable future.
Shelli Brunswick is a renowned leader in the global space ecosystem, known for her distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader and congressional liaison for the U.S. Air Force. She currently serves as the COO of Space Foundation and oversees its three primary divisions, including the Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365, and Global Alliance. With her passion for space technology innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, and inclusion, Shelli is a thought leader in the field and collaborates with organizations around the world to connect commercial, government, and educational sectors. Shelli has received numerous accolades, including the 2022 Chief in Tech Award by WomenTech Network and the World Women Organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Shelli plays an active leadership role in various international organizations, including the Space4Women Mentoring Program, the WomenTech Network, and the World Business Angels Investment Forum, to name a few.
Former radio host, public speaker, Rachel Lyons is the executive director of Space for Humanity, a non-profit organization that expands our perspective on Earth through the spaceflight experience. Under her leadership, S4H sent the first woman from the African continent and first Mexican-born woman to space. Lyons is a former radio host and public speaker who has been featured in outlets including CNN, NPR, and VICE. She believes that by expanding our perspective, we can contribute to greater societal change and treat ourselves, each other, and our planet with deeper respect.
Laura Crabtree is an incredibly talented engineer, and the co-founder and CEO of Epsilon3. As one of the Crew Operations & Resource Engineers (CORE) for SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, she played a critical role in bringing the United States back to human spaceflight. Laura was part of the initial team that worked on the first Dragon mission in 2010, which led to the first mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2012, and was also involved in the commercial crew contract over the next decade. Her expertise and dedication were crucial in the success of the mission that delivered astronauts to the ISS in 2020, where she was the lead trainer for the crew and one of the CORE operators who communicated and advocated for the crew during free flight. Laura’s contributions to SpaceX also extended to various programs such as F9 Recovery, Dragon Recovery, and Dragon operations teams.
From humble beginnings to founding her own commercial space company, Space Dots, Bianca Cefalo is a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion within the space industry with a relentless drive for educating future generations on the opportunities of the space sector. Beyond her professional work, Bianca is a STEM consultant, youth mentor, space advocate, and international speaker, dedicated to inspiring and empowering the next generation of female leaders, both on Earth and beyond. Bianca has contributed to multiple science missions, disruptive innovation roadmaps, and commercial spacecraft platforms, including the HP3 instrument on the NASA/JPL Insight Mars Mission. Bianca is a feminist, public speaker, and entrepreneur committed to delivering space technology solutions to global partners and customers.
Melanie Stricklan is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and passionate advocate of STEM initiatives and advancing space sustainability. Mel is CEO and co-founder of Slingshot Aerospace, a company focused on providing decision intelligence technologies for space. During her time in the Air Force, she gained technical expertise and leadership skills that have enabled her to develop innovative business and product strategies. Mel has received numerous awards for her contributions to the industry, including being named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Female Founders in the United States and being recognized as the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year for El Segundo, California.
Megan Kane is a woman on a mission to be a farmer on Mars. Ever since she was 16 years old, Megan has been fascinated by explorers and the idea of making a life on the Red Planet. Megan is a Mars One Candidate, Treasurer of the International Space Safety Foundation, and Export Control Officer for Spire Global. She has leveraged her creative skills and business knowledge to start Truthian, Inc., a company that helps artists and authors overcome the challenges of getting published. Megan has also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi and has been selected for a crewed isolation mission simulating a trip to a near-Earth asteroid. In 2017, she began exploring the entertainment industry through acting and modeling.
Carol Craig is an incredible example of an inspirational figure affecting change and leading the way for all women in the space sector. She is one of the first women to ever lead a space business to go public and one of the first women to fly combat in the US Navy before turning into an inspirational ‘astropreneur’. Carol is founder and CEO of both Craig Technologies and Sidus Space. Craig Technologies is a woman-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, minority-owned small disadvantaged business, specializing in systems engineering, project management, infrastructure, software engineering, research and development, modeling and simulation, training and many other custom technical services. Sidus Space is making it easy for any corporation, industry or vertical to start their journey off-planet with their rapidly scalable, low-cost satellite services, space-based solutions and testing alternatives.