2007 CFISU Scholarship Recipients

Viqar Abbasi

Viqar first heard of the International Space University (ISU) in the fall of 1991, when the 42nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) was held in his hometown of Montreal. This was a first exposure to the ‘real life’ space business, and he was particularly attracted to the ISU booth. To a wide-eyed 17-year old kid, this was “Starfleet Academy”, the perfect environment to equip him to take part in this amazing international endeavour. Imagine his disappointment when he learned that ISU didn’t have an Undergraduate Program. Nevertheless, he had found his calling, and when the time came, he searched for a space-related university program, which would prepare him, not just to work in space, but for ISU. Sixteen later, ISU is upon him. Much has changed. Since 2002, Viqar has been working at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), where he helps to train and certify astronauts and cosmonauts to operate the Mobile Servicing System (MSS), Canada’s contribution of advanced robotics to the International Space Station (ISS), commonly known as Canadarm2 and Dextre. In his role as Technical Manager, Training Systems he provides leadership and expertise in the planning and requirements definition for all CSA training facilities, including the MSS Operations and Training Simulator (MOTS), currently the world’s top simulation facility for Dextre, Canada’s next space robot, whose mission of robotic repair and maintenance on the ISS should begin in early 2008. Prior to joining CSA, he was a key member of the team who designed and developed the robotics simulator for CSA, as part of CAE. Obsessed with process improvement and optimization, Viqar recently earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. This complements a Master’s of Aerospace engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, and a Bachelor of Science from York University’s unique “Space and Communication Sciences”, a specialized honours program combining Computer Science and Physics. In both of these programs, he worked on a large variety of space projects ranging from remote sensing to Mars sample return to medical robotics. Robotics remains his first love in space. His earthly loves now include his wife, his three-year old son Amaan and one-year old daughter Inaya, whose second birthday he will sadly miss during his summer at ISU. As a Canadian-born Muslim based in Montreal, Viqar speaks English, French and Urdu and is eager to learn more languages and more about the world around him. While much has changed, that remains the same. Viqar is thrilled to be part of ISU SSP ‘07’s Team Canada.

Alexandra Blinova

Alexandra's main reason for wishing to participate in the Space Studies Program (SSP) is to meet new people from different backgrounds and professions who are interested in space, as she is. For her, this is a unique opportunity to communicate and exchange ideas, put minds together, learn various aspects of space sector and make a difference in the future of space exploration. She attended the Toronto School of Business, Carleton University (BSc Honors), and is now at the University of Alberta (MSc). As part of her degree in Earth Sciences, she studied volcanology, earthquake monitoring, plate tectonics, mineralogy, geophysical methods, and chemistry laboratory procedures. Her interest lays in the space physical sciences, particularly in planetary geology. Her passion is meteorites. For her Bachelor degree she completed geochronological and isotopic studies of ordinary chondritic meteorites, and at present, for her Masters degree, she is involved in experimental petrology of Martian meteorites. Through this line of study she will better understand the history and evolution of our Solar System. She has held summer employment positions with Dahrouge Geological Consulting (2006) and Geological Surveys of Canada (2005 and 2004). She has authored or co-authored four technical/scientific papers. She is active in community affairs (Campus safety, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation) and many professional organizations. She is a strong swimmer and enjoys tennis, jogging and skiing.

Emily Coffey

Emily received a BSc. Hons. Degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa, in 2006. For the development of her thesis on cognition aging in general aviation pilots, she started a collaboration with the Aviation Cognition Lab at Carleton University. She recently completed a Young Graduate Trainee program with the European Space Agency in the development and implementation of human behaviour and performance training for astronauts, flight controllers, and Antarctic over-winter personnel. She plans to attend the University of Amsterdam next year (cognitive science). She has written conference articles, for the press, on Aging & Flight Performance in General Aviation, has written a monthly column on educational flying articles for a national newspaper, and has published an instructional manual for flight training. She will be submitting part of her Honours Thesis for publication in a cognitive science journal. She was on the Dean’s Honour List (all years), and a recipient of the University of Ottawa Scholarship (all years), the Ottawa Citizen Scholarship (2004), the Lucy Morrison Memorial Scholarship (2004), and the Neil Armstrong Scholarship for Flight Training. She has licences as a glider pilot, a private pilot, an ultralight pilot, and an ultralight instructor rating. She is also a flying instructor. Her first language is English. She speaks basic French and is learning Italian. She likes outdoor sports, including Scuba diving.

Duncan Cree

Duncan is a third year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at Concordia University in Montreal, where he is developing a new lightweight metal/ceramic composite material. His Masters and Bachelors degrees were also in Mechanical Engineering from Concordia. He holds professional engineering memberships in Quebec and in Ontario, as well as in the state of New York. During his university education he held engineering positions at Pratt & Whitney Canada, the National Research Council of Canada (Institute for Aerospace Research), and at Bombardier Aerospace (Defense Sciences). At these jobs he acquired a broad range of experiences such as the design of a hydraulic press concept; a universal tweaking fixture for vane rings; airworthiness reviews (T33 Silver Star); stress analysis on wing-mounted pylon (Convair 580); stress analysis on helicopter landing platform; analysis of continued airworthiness (CF18). He has a reputation, among his peers, as being hard-working, co-operative and a good communicator. He is deeply involved in encouraging young persons to pursue studies in math and sciences. He routinely accepts invitations to speak to children in elementary and high schools. When he completes his Doctoral studies, he will be Canada’s first Aboriginal PhD in Mechanical Engineering, and the first Native Ceramics Engineering PhD in North America. Duncan enjoys reading, traveling, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and he plays many sports. He is heavily involved in community affairs on native reserves.

Paul Harisson

Paul received his Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Physics) at the University of British Columbia, and his Master of Applied Science (Aerospace) at Carleton University in Ottawa. At present he works for Bristol Aerospace Ltd. in Ottawa, as an Attitude Control Systems Specialist in the Propulsion and Space Division. He is involved in the design, development and verification of the attitude determination and control system for the CASSIOPE small satellite mission and the generic SmallSAT bus. He also participated in the selection and qualification status review for the SmallSAT attitude determination and control hardware. He designed and developed the Low Fidelity Simulator and High Fidelity Simulator for ADCS design and verification; the development of the Real-time Spacecraft Simulator, and ADCS analysis and conceptual design for mission concept studies. Prior to Bristol, he was with Dynacon Enterprises Ltd., in Mississauga. He has authored/co-authored several reports, which were presented at Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute conferences. He is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Apart from his interests in astronomy and space, he is a history buff.

Shane Jacobs

Shane obtained his Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal. He then went on to the University of Maryland for his Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering. At present he is a PhD student and EVA Team-lead at the Space Systems Laboratory, where his research involves advanced space suit design, Human Robotic Interaction and EVA operations. He has written reports for the 36th International Conference on Environmental Systems (SAE), on Morphing Upper Torso; a New Concept in EVA Suit Design, and on System Overview and Operations of the MX-2 Neutral Buoyancy Space Suit Analogue. He is the recipient of the Distinguished A. James Clark Research Fellowship (2), the OIQ Student Award of Merit, and the Ernest Brown Gold Medal for Highest Ability throughout undergraduate program. In extra-curricular/professional activities he serves on the University of Maryland Graduate Aerospace Council, he is the Space Systems Laboratory Tour Director and Head Tour guide, and the Space Systems Open House Coordinator. He enjoys soccer, traveling, running, scuba diving, and the challenge of exploring space.

Amir Komeily

Amir received his degree in Electrical Engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton. During his undergraduate studies, he joined an internship work experience placement with Nortel, in Ottawa, and was involved in the area of electrical characterization of wafer level and discrete electronic devices, and developed software routines to do automated 2-port and 4-port S-parameter measurements. Since graduation he has been employed by COM DEV Space, in Cambridge, Ontario. He currently is an Advanced member of Technical Staff. He oversees all IMUX programs within the company, to ensure appropriate designs are used, to provide solutions to problems encountered, to write instructional guidelines for the design based on frequency and bandwidth, to check proposals to customers, and to continuously look for design and process improvements. Amir has a reputation, among his peers, as being highly motivated, with strong communication and leadership skills and a passion for the space industry. He is an avid Toronto Maple Leafs fan and an above-average soccer and volleyball player.

Jonathan Liberda

Jonathan received his BSc. Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences (Hydroscience) at McMaster University in Hamilton. He was named to the Dean’s Honour list for two academic terms, and was awarded a book prize for outstanding performance in Physics. He currently is studying for his MSc. Earth & Environmental Sciences, still at McMaster, and is working on determining the potential of using quartz watch crystals as a dosimeter in emergency scenarios. During his studies, he worked as a Development Student in Environment, Health and Safety at the Ontario Power Generation Corporation, and as a Research Assistant in the Air Quality Research Branch, Environment Canada. Before entering university, he spent six months in Nicaragua and Costa Rica as a full-time volunteer with the American Field Services, Community Services Program. Jonathan has a reputation for maturity, self-confidence, high motivation, with strong problem solving skills and a genuine interest in all aspects of science. He is particularly interested in how extended space travel will affect living organisms, especially far from Earth’s magnetosphere. He enjoys snowboarding, aikido, karate and mountain biking, and plays the six-string guitar.

Annie Martin

Annie received her BSc Bachelors (Kinesiology) at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). At present she is studying for her MSc Masters (Exercise Physiology) also at UQAM. Her thesis is Experiments on an intelligent mechanical ventilator; autonomous medical system for ion-duration exploration-class mission. During her student years, she acquired a variety of professional experiences as a Teacher Assistant in courses on physiology of exercise, neurophysiology, anatomy and kinesiology for dancers; as a Personal Trainer Manager in the training of symptomatic and asymptomatic populations; as a Contractor in health promotion in industries; as a Contractor at the Internship Operational Space Medicine at the Canadian Space Agency; as a Professional Figure Skating Coach; and a Research Assistant in exercise physiology and in neurosciences at UQAM. She has been recognized with a Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC), and the Plaque honorifique Strathcona, to name a few. She has written two papers for the Canadian Space Agency – one on Smart Sensors for Medical Autonomy and one on Medical Autonomy for long duration spaceflight. Annie enjoys the theatre, likes sports and music, and is a passionate worker who hopes to be part of the future long duration spaceflights and the first human mission to Mars. She would like to be an astronaut.

Adam Rasheed

Adam received his Bachelor of Engineering, Aerospace at Carleton University and his Master of Science, Aeronautics and PhD Aeronautics, at California Institute of Technology (Pasadena). He currently is a Research Engineer with General Electric Global Research, in Niskayund, New York. He leads a $1 million GE-NASA Pulsed Detonation Engine Turbine Interaction Program investigation (PDE-TIP), a large-scale PDE system firing into an axial turbine. This revolutionary aerospace propulsion technology has a potential to save $14 billion annually in fuel costs for airlines. He was honoured when his efforts were recognized by the MIT Technology Review magazine TR35 as one of the “Top Innovators in the World”, in 2005. He received the Global Indus Technovator Award (2006), the CIT C.L. Powell Fellowship (l996), the Carleton University Senate Medal (1995). He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario and a Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. He has authored/co-authored numerous publications. His other interests are scuba diving, cooking, basketball, and he recently completed an Ironman Triathlon.

Jian-Feng Shi

Jian-Feng has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Carleton University, and a Master of Applied Science from the University of Toronto, both in Aerospace Engineering. At present he is employed as a Control Systems Engineer with MDA Space Mission in Brampton, where among other things, he is responsible for deriving and implementing various control algorithms for the control of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) of the Canadian International Space Station Mobile Servicing System. Earlier in his career, he was a Systems Engineer with Orbital Technologies Corporation, in Madison Wisconsin, and a Student Software Member of the Technical Staff at Telesat Canada. He is a Certified Project Management Professional, a Registered Professional Engineer of Ontario, and a Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA). He was a recipient of an Industrial Undergraduate Student Research Award (1998), the University of Toronto Frank Howard Graduate Fellowship (2001), and the Scholarship of the Society of Satellite Professionals (2000). He has several published reports/papers to his credit. He likes to weight train and jogging.

Steve Ulrich

Steve Ulrich holds a B.Eng. degree (2004) and a M.A.Sc. degree (2006) in Electrical Engineering from Université de Sherbrooke. His post graduate research was focused on autonomous guidance and control algorithms for the atmospheric entry on Mars. During his graduate studies, Steve was also a Lecturer and a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate and graduate engineering courses in the field of automatic control systems. In 2006, he joined NGC Aerospace Ltd. as a Research Engineer in Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC), where he leads and participates in R&D studies in the field of autonomous GNC for aeronautics and astronautics applications. Steve is the recipient of several honors and scholarships, such as a Space Awareness and Learning Grant from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and a Leonardo da Vinci Medal - the highest distinction awarded by the Faculty of Engineering at Université de Sherbrooke. Steve is a member of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a member of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), and a member of l’Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). During his free time, he enjoys motorcycling, playing squash, swimming, weight training, cross-country skiing and rock climbing. He also holds an Industry Canada issued Amateur Radio Operator Certificate with the call sign VE2ULR.

Charity Weeden

Charity has a BSc Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Royal Military College of Canada, and a MSc Masters, Science – Space Studies degree from the University of North Dakota, USA. Charity is a Major, in the Canadian Armed Forces. At present she is stationed with the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs. She is an action officer where she is called upon to be a Command expert on International Traffic in Arms Regulations, among other duties. She is an experienced Orbital Analyst and served as a Deputy Sensor Network Manager for the United States Space Sensor Network for two years. Also, she is a Canadian Forces Air Navigator, has a solid understanding of radar, communications, and global navigation systems. She holds the highest A Category qualification as Navigator – Communicator and has demonstrated exception leadership skills on detachments in southwest Asia and throughout Europe. Charity has worked with diverse intergenerational and international teams through United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization sanctioned operations. She is actively involved with ‘Women in Aviation International” and Canadian Women in Aviation. Off-the-job she relaxes with crafts, sewing and decorating. She and her husband are oenophiles