Success Stories

Dawn Lim, SSP 2003

Before entering the summer session program at the International Space University, I only had a vague idea of possibly pursuing a career in aerospace or international medicine. As a student, I spent the majority of my time studying medical theory in classes--I had very little exposure to the practical uses of my medical degree. Joining the summer session in Strasbourg and sharing that intense team experience with such an eclectic and talented group of individuals (many of whom I keep in touch with on a regular basis) truly inspired me to seek challenging opportunities in medicine. I left the program with a clearer sense of purpose and a mind opened to possibilities.

Two years after leaving ISU, I graduated with my medical degree and was accepted into the University of Toronto’s Royal College emergency medicine residency program. Throughout my five years of training, I will be pursuing a subspecialty interest in aerospace medicine with a special focus on international health. This is a relatively novel idea in emergency medicine! Specifically, I will be focusing my studies on how humans can improve the provision of emergent medical care at long distances under harsh conditions. Not forgetting ISU’s triple “I” philosophy, I hope to apply technologies stemming from these studies towards improving access to health care services in grassroots communities in the developing world. So far, my research interests have taken me to rural communities in Nova Scotia, the academic stone halls of Oxford, and to the impoverished shantytowns of Phnom Penh. And I look forward to many future journeys!

Tim Poon, SSP 2003, SSP 2004

At the three-year point since my SSP, I'm now in "the real world", as a Radio Frequency Engineer for TELUS Communications in Toronto. While my work is now non-space-related (dealing with RF for cellphones), I wouldn't be where I am today without my ISU experience. ISU provides an extensive opportunity to network with technology and policy leaders from around the world, and the SSP environment is unparalleled.

Michel Alexandre Cardin, SSP 2003

After the ISU Summer Session Program in 2003, I traveled for nearly 8 months around Europe, Eastern Europe, and North Africa with my fiancée. I came back to Toronto in May 2004 and worked as a research engineer-physicist for the development of a computer-assisted interface for breast conserving surgery. This work was done at the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. In August 2005, I returned to graduate school for a second master’s degree in the Technology and Policy Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. I am currently studying how to incorporate flexibility in engineering systems so that value (financial or other) can be extracted from uncertainty. This value can be added by taking advantage of upside opportunities, or by reducing losses in case of downside events, and be assessed using a quantitative financial tool known as real option analysis. As part of my graduate course curriculum, I am also working on a project in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, which aims at developing a model of international cooperation for the US Vision for Space Exploration. This work is done at a certain level of collaboration with the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University. During the summer 2006, I am going on internship at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School to work on the economic value assessment of a project that aims at studying hydrogen economy under nuclear fusion production. This project will build on academic knowledge in finance from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and also in energy policy at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Louis-Paul Bedard, MSS 1998

Je travaille présentement à l'Agence Spatiale Canadienne, à St-Hubert, près de Montréal. Je suis depuis le 1er mai 2006, planificateur de mission pour le système du Télé- manipulateur de la Station Spatiale (TSS). De formation, je suis ingénieur-physicien, titulaire d`un baccalauréat de l`Université Laval avec une concentration et quelques stages en traitement de signaux géophysiques. Je détiens aussi une maîtrise en physique appliquée de l`Université de la Louisiane à Lafayette ainsi qu`une maîtrise en étude spatiales de l`Université Spatiale Internationale (ISU), cette dernière située sur le site de l`Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg en France. Dans le cadre de ce dernier diplôme, j`ai effectué un stage au Japon, à Tsukuba, avec l`équipe du module Japonais de la Station Spatiale Internationale (ISS), ce qui m`a amené à obtenir un emploi pour la firme MacDonald Dettwiler Aerospatiale (MDA), le maître d`oeuvre du Télé-opérateur de la Station Spatiale (TSS/MSS). Mes deux premières années corporatives eurent lieu à Toronto, comme ingénieur de systèmes pour la mise en fonction de la salle de contrôle en génie de soutien (ESC) située dans le Complexe des opérations de mission (MOC) à l'Agence Spatiale Canadienne. J`ai ensuite été détaché à l`Agence Spatiale Canadienne en 2000, à St-Hubert, dans la grande région de Montréal, dans le groupe des opérations de mission, où j`ai exercé la fonction d`analyste en dynamique pour le TSS pendant cinq ans et demi, ce qui m'a amené à l'emploi que j'exerce présentement, celui de planificateur de mission.

Diane Burchett, SSP 2003

In 1996 I began my career in Space, I joined COM DEV International Ltd., the largest Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware subsystems. COM DEV designs and manufactures advanced products and subsystems that are sold to major satellite prime contractors for use in communications, space science, remote sensing and military satellites. As the Design Integrity Manager, a position that encompasses EEE Components, Materials and Process Engineering, and Reliability and Safety Engineering I had the opportunity to work in all of these areas of the company.

In 2003 I had the unique opportunity to attend and be part of the ISU SSP03 in Strasbourg France. I didn’t know at the time how influential that summer would be. I gained exposure to many facets of the space business world, further deepened my interest in space as a career, and most importantly had the pleasure of meeting and working with 107 individuals who shared my drive and interests. For nine weeks I was fully immersed in discussions about the future of space with fascinating people from many different disciplines, and countries.

Upon my return from the ISU I found that I was approaching my day-to-day activities differently. Not only was I applying the practical knowledge I acquired at ISU, I was engaging the new network of opportunities that was now open to me. The ISU alumni are an endless resource of support, aid and general knowledge database. Three short years later I am now the Director of Design Integrity, and am currently responsible for strategic level decisions, as well as tactical issues. I do believe that the broad and holistic view of the space industry that the ISU gave me was a contributing factor in my career development.

Philomena Bonis, SSP 2002, SSP 2004, SSP 2005

The ISU SSP was by far the best professional development I have ever experienced. I would encourage traditionally non space related professionals in fields such as education, journalism and other humanities to apply for this challenging academic and professional experience. The International Space university has spawned a personal desire to see more young people involved in science and technology with space as the vehicle of instruction. ISU has provided the academic grounding, network of contacts and focused initiative that I need to effectively attain my professional goals.

Since completing the SSP in California I have taken students to the CSA in Montreal, and the Grand Canyon to perform Mars simulant studies. I have written and presented my first paper at the IAC and the International Lunar conferences on behalf of educators on the topic of Education and Public Outreach challenges. I have spoken at conferences to various audiences about space, science, technology and goal setting. I have changed the way I teach science to include numerous examples of how space affects our daily lives in my own classroom. ISU gave me the tools and the confidence to apply to NASA for the Educator Astronaut Program in 2004. My experiences in the summer session program will now provide the strategy for my next quest which is to be part of the private sector sub orbital companies initiative to send teachers up into low earth orbit with the long range vision of seeing significant increase in mathematics, science and technology education. Long term literacy in these key areas will directly affect our economic growth and competitive future. The international space university taught me this because of its international, intercultural and most importantly interdisciplinary approach to my education. This translates daily in the manner in which I teach. I hope to fly in space one day but if not of my students will.

Sebastien Gorelov, SSP 2003, SSP 2005

I attended the International Space University Summer Session Program in 2003, in Strasbourg France, after having completed a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering at McGill University.

The Summer Session session program was a broadening introduction to the different professional disciplines of the space industry and to some of its most distinguished actors. The wealth of information and human ressources encountered during this intense training program helped me in many ways:

1. Coming from a more scientific background, I was mostly unfamiliar with many of the other vital disciplines of the space sector. To only name a few, the business, policy and law experts instructing at ISU gave me an excellent picture of the framework and everyday issues of the economical reality of spaceflight. More generally, the acquired big-picture view is essential to any carreer-building decisions.

2. Fresh out of university candidates have a limited leadership potential record to show employers for job application evaluation. In my case, ISU gave me opportunities to test and develop my leadership potential by taking important project responsibilites in front of my peers. Rare are the opportunities to get a free chance at leadership in a professional environment with room for error to learn.

3. Only experience can bring you the skills necessary to deal with real-world working conditions in the international space industry. This is what the Summer Session Program brings you with the Team Projects. Negotiations conducted accross members of the most different cultural and language backgrounds cannot be simulated. At ISU, it is an everyday activity, and the students are thus exposed to the caracteristic challenges involved.

4. Some argue that you learn the most from your peers. Some SSP students are in fact very experienced and talented. What a great learning opportunity this was for a new graduate like me! Because we go through the same process, it is extremely valuable to watch first hand how senior managers go about problem solving. This experience helps me in my carreer almost every day.

5. The opportunity to develop and maintain a network of contacts with influencial space actors and decision-makers is unparalleled. No other industry celebrates the dream of spaceflight like the space industry does through ISU. Here national boundaries are erased so that enthousiastic participants are linked with experienced mentors. When it comes down to reference letters, article writing and job-hunting, influencial people help a lot.

6. I wanted to fly in weightlessness, and my experience at ISU helped me do just that. By getting the right information and the right contacts, we submitted an parabolic flight experiment to ESA and were in Bordeaux flying 5 months later!

Since ISU, I completed a Science Master in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technoloy and now serve in the Canadian Air Force.

Jamie Doran, SSP 2004

After ISU, I applied for a provincial award called the Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship. The award is worth $100,000 and goes to a grad student who wants to commercialize technologies developed during their grad work. More information can be found here ...

I was the only winner in 2005 and used the money to start a company called the Glass Onion Corporation. Our website is

Our two major objectives are to market a device I invented called the Pungometer and to be the first Canadian producer of 'clean garlic seed'. The Pungometer is a simple device that meaures how 'hot' and onion or garlic is. This will allow all onions produced in Ontario/Canada/International markets to be graded for pungency ... no more super-hot onions in your salad! We envision a scale that would sort onions into mild, medium and hot. Each has a unqiue market ranging from fresh consumption (mild ones) to spice production (hot ones).

Clean seed garlic is a type of garlic seed that is free of viral and fungal agents (garlic is cultivated by planting cloves in the fall, the cloves are called the seed - similar to the way potatoes are grown). Garlic cloves produced from clean seed are often twice the size of infected seed and annual yields can be increased by up to 50%. There are currently no producers of clean seen in Canada, Glass Onion intends to be the first.

We are currently looking to buy a facility to setup shop. This will happen very soon as we have just recently acquired investors who are helping us reach our company goals.

For more information about our products and plans, please check out the website. There is a news section that I add to on a regular basis.

Arthur Prévot SSP 2003, SSP 2004

I think I am one of the many ISU alumni I know whose professional development is linked to ISU.

I knew that I would enjoy participating in the SSP when I first heard about it in 2001. That became true in 2003 when attending the program in Strasbourg, France. I was pursuing a Master of Science in the field of Robotics at the time. Since then, I missed very few opportunities to be involved in the community. I participated in the SSP04 as a Teaching Assistant in Adelaide, Australia. I co-organized the alumni part of the SSP05 and I became an active member of CAISU (the Canadian Alumni of the International Space University)

I am now a Robotics Mission Analyst, working for MDA on the operation of Canadarm2 at CSA (Canadian Space Agency). My work consists of setting up the robotic arm for each phase of future shuttle missions to the ISS (International Space Station), analyzing operations, and providing support during real-time operation. I do not know if I would have got that job without attending ISU. However, if I recall that almost half employees from my department are also ISU alumni, I guess that it helped a lot.

Indeed, I am glad that ISU helps me at a professional level, by being in contact with other alumni working on the ISS project, by learning about friends starting venture in the space business… But most importantly, ISU allowed me to make good friends who I enjoy meeting on a regular basis.

Bruno Sylvestre SSP 2002, SSP 2004

I knew from long ago that I didn't want to follow a classical path in my life... I think in general, I knew what I didn't want for a career but I didn't know exactly what I wanted Classic! I had some interests in science and technologies and also I was particularly interested in aeronautic and space. I didn't have any model to follow and I wasn't sure about what I could do for living. And this is how I decided to become an engineer!

I enrolled myself in a mechanical engineering program at École polytechnique de Montréal, which I successfully completed in four years. I took part in the space and technologies specialisation program, which gave me an introduction to the space sector applied to engineering.

Already during my studies, I knew I wanted to travel and learn about other countries and cultures. As part of my bachelor degree, I expatriated myself in Sweden for almost half a year to complete part of my studies abroad. I had the chance to taste the intercultural and international environment.

Combining my thirst of the World and my quest for space; I discovered ISU just before the end of my bachelor degree. Three weeks later, I submitted my application to both ISU programmes offered at the time (i.e. SSP and MSS). Luckily enough, I was accepted to both and also I was awarded a scholarship to cover half of my tuition fees. I jumped right away on that unique opportunity!

What a dream: travelling to California and Europe while having the chance to meet top notch scientists, engineers, doctors, journalists, law makers and so on all passionate about space like I was! I couldn’t ask for better!

My year and a half at ISU brought a lot to my life. In addition to learning loads about space (i.e. I realised that there were many more people involved in space than a bunch of crazy engineers!); I was able to establish a vast and top quality planetary network on which I could rely on daily. That is probably the most important asset you have after ISU is over. In fact, it can remain never over if you know how to let the candle lit.

Despite the fact that the return home was much more difficult than expected, I'm glad I followed that path. Indeed, it took me roughly a year and a half before getting my current position at Neptec I think this was the hardest of all in my path to my career I was, for a while, on a double downhill slope ISU was over (that kind of unrealistic setup* that has nothing to do with real life) and no job prospect for a long time I even had to start another Master to keep me busy and enhance my chances of getting hired somewhere...

After long efforts of job hunting while keeping me involved in the ISU family, I finally got my DREAM job! It's been over a year now that I work for a company called Neptec as an operations and systems engineering specialist. I do stuff I am the best at for the moment: a bit of everything! Neptec is specialised in offering vision services to various customers mainly in the space and defence markets. Our major client is NASA and the manned spaceflight programme. My tasks range from system testing to mission support and from engineering analyses to procedure writing. It is a great young and dynamic environment in which it is easy to evolve. I would recommend it to anyone that is go-getter and self-motivated!

In addition, my company gives me the opportunity to officially keep contact with ISU by sending Alumni (i.e. yes, we are more that one Alumni at Neptec) to conferences and ISU events.

The path you take to achieve your goals is really yours and it pertains only to you to follow it. The most important is to believe in what you do and go for it! Your life is yours and you only have one to live so you'd better take advantage of it! NOW!

Why ISU is an unrealistic setup? First, when you are at ISU, you don't really work because it is fun and the projects are mainly academic (they then could become real world application but that is not the original intent). Second, all those people that you work and party with are all from different countries and cultures and no international boundaries exist between you and them (apart from the virtual cultural boundaries that are more or less easily breakable). However, when you come back home, you realise that the international boundaries really exist and could become real hurdles for real projects (which is sad).

Christyne Legault SSP 2004

Tout au long de mes années d’expérience en enseignement, j’ai toujours gardé une place importante à la promotion des sciences et plus particulièrement aux sciences de l’espace.

De 1995 à 2001, j’ai travaillé à l’école Fernand-Seguin, la seule école primaire à caractère scientifique de la grande région de Montréal J’étais enseignante ressource en science et je développais toutes les activités en science pour les classes de la 1ère année à la 6e année du primaire.

J’ai participé régulièrement avec les élèves à différents concours et activités offertes par l’Agence spatiale canadienne. (ASC) En 1996, ASC a organisé le concours CAPE (Expérience canadienne sur la cristallisation des protéines) destiné aux élèves du primaire et du secondaire. Dix-sept projets ont été réalisés à bord de la station MIR, douze de ses expériences étaient d’origines québécoises dont six conçus par des élèves sous ma supervision. J’ai participé également aux projets Canolab, Marsville et Tomato sphere, tous des projets supportés par l’ASC. En août 1998, je fut la seule Canadienne à assister à la formation de International Space Camp for teachers en Alabama. À cette formation, je fus honoré de la médaille « The right stuff » comme étant celle qui c’était démarqué pour son potentiel et son implication au cours de la formation.

De 1996 à juin 2005, j’ai été responsable du Festival des sciences de la Commission scolaire de Montréal. À chaque année, cette expo-sciences de grande renommée, tient son événement au complexe Desjardins du centre ville de Montréal. De nombreux scientifiques et personnages importants du milieu des sciences s’y donnent rendez-vous. C’est une expérience enrichissante pour les élèves du primaire et du secondaire ainsi que pour leurs enseignants. Dans ces fonctions de coordonnatrice, je dirige un comité de 18 membres, je développe et organise l’expo-science, je supporte et accompagne les enseignants des écoles primaires et secondaires dans la mise sur pied de leur projet en science, je crée un partenariat entre les établissements de la formation professionnelle et les écoles dans la conception de leur projet en science. Je suis également responsable de la revue scientifique du Festival des sciences qui publie 50 articles écrits par des élèves du primaire et du secondaire. Je donne régulièrement de la formation aux enseignants du primaire et du secondaire sur la démarche scientifique et l’élaboration d’un projet en science.

Depuis octobre 2003, je suis chargée de projet à l’école des métiers de l’aérospatiale de Montréal pour le développement d’un projet de sensibilisation aux sciences. Ce projet d’envergure canadien, ce veut d’être l’intégration de 10 domaines en science dans un simulateur de la station spatiale. Un environnement unique à la fine pointe de la technologie permettant aux élèves et aux enseignants de découvrir les spécificités des sciences de l’espace et le plaisir d’y intégrer tous les domaines scientifiques. Une station spatiale construite dans une roulotte de 60 pieds pouvant accueillir à son bord 30 élèves à la fois pour une mission d’une journée complète. Parallèlement à mon travail, j’ai toujours demeuré très active dans le domaine des sciences. En septembre 1998, j’ai rédigé des activités pédagogiques pour le Centre d’enrichissement en micro-informatique scolaire sur la culture hydroponique en lien avec les sciences de l’espace. En 2000, j’ai participé au reportage vidéo sur la pédagogie et les sciences au primaire en collaboration avec le ministère de l’éducation. De septembre 1999 à tout récemment, j’ai rédigé 3 manuels scolaires en science pour le primaire. Ces 3 manuels ont été approuvés par le ministère de l’éducation, conforme au nouveau programme. En mai 2003, j’ai rédigé un scénario pédagogique d’accompagnement pour les enseignants lors de leur visite au Centre des sciences du Cosmodôme de Laval. Présentement, je travaille à l’élaboration d’une trousse pédagogique pour l’Agence spatiale canadienne concernant l’utilisation d’un satellite dans la prévision météorologique à long terme.

Les comités et les conseils pédagogiques sont aussi pour moi un autre moyen efficace de faire la promotion des sciences auprès des enseignants. En 1998, j’ai siégé au conseil d’administration de l’Association des professeurs de sciences du Québec. De novembre 2002 à février 2005, j’ai siégé au conseil d’administration de l’Association des enseignants et des enseignantes du primaire.

En terminant, l’été 2005, je faisais parti des 10 canadiens à recevoir son diplôme de l’Université International de l’espace. Ces connaissances que j’ai acquises en sciences de l’espace sont à tous les jours réinvesties auprès des élèves et des enseignants que je côtoie afin de leur transmettre le plaisir de faire des sciences.

Talmon Firestone SSP 2002, MSS 2003

The very first time I became interested in pursuing a career in the space industry, it was when I learned about the potential of Lunar Helium-3 and nuclear fusion technology. From this basis, my interest in the space industry grew and soon afterward I completed my Master of Science at the International Space University. Prior to that, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Entrepreneurship from Ryerson University. The education I received from ISU provided me with everything I needed to know to begin my career and more importantly, the international ISU network has been an unparalleled resource that I have continued to utilize since my graduation. In a poetic turn of events, I am now the Vice President and North American Representative of NSD- Fusion GmbH. We manufacture long life nuclear fusion reactors for industry as neutron and proton generators. While at this time we are focusing on terrestrial markets, our technology will soon find itself connected to the space industry in more than one way. There is a strong potential for the technology to be used as an activating source for sub- critical fission power systems based on Thorium fuel for space power systems. As well, we plan to develop a medical P.E.T. isotope production system that will utilize Helium-3 as a fusion fuel, thus creating a present day terrestrial demand for this valuable lunar resource. Without my education from ISU, my success in this field would surely have been more difficult to achieve.

Ruey Chao MSS 2004

I graduated from the MSS program in 2004. I learned of ISU through a friend and colleague while in my last year of university at Embry-Riddle in Arizona. In the summer I took a trip to visit ISU, and found exactly what I was looking for – studying space at the Master's level, in a foreign country at an International school; I applied immediately.

ISU has opened doors for my career. After graduation, while attending the IAC in Vancouver, I realized the value of the presence of ISU folk at a space event, and many of my classmates were present. As a staff member of the core SSP '05 team in Strasbourg, my ISU community strengthened. I recently joined MDA Space Missions in the systems engineering group posted at CSA – a position I'm quite satisfied with. While it took over a year to obtain my current position, it was the help of ISU colleagues within the company that made it possible – they were my eyes and ears who helped identify who I should speak with to learn more about the position, and helped better communicate my interest and qualifications. Since my graduation, I have taken a leadership role on the CAISU board, helping produce a newsletter for the Canadian Space Society (CSS), and co-chairing our bi-annual NSAW conference in 2006 – which allowed me to interface with other space professionals and future potential candidates for ISU.