The judging panel includes experts in fields such as CTE education, space education, product design, and the space industry. Judges will score submissions according to the official selection criteria.
Niteesh Elias is an entrepreneur, visual artist, and design leader. Throughout his career, Niteesh has used design thinking and business strategy to address large systemic challenges in the areas of aviation, sustainability, industry 4.0, and healthcare. He has created and deployed several strategy frameworks and approaches to understand customer needs and identify opportunities for innovation. Currently, Niteesh is the Director of Product Design at Honeywell Aerospace. His design group deploys user-centric approaches toward shaping the future of flight deck avionics using paradigms such as touch and voice. His team also designs concepts that simplify pilot operations for the next generation of electric aviation. These designs have had several patents issued and have won awards, including the prestigious Good Design Award in 2022. He has degrees in computer science, human-computer interaction, and business. Niteesh is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he coaches and mentors creatives.
Nithya Govindasamy currently serves as Senior Director of Policy at Advance CTE, where she leads and manages key initiatives focused on increasing and promoting equitable access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) for all learners. She is also responsible for Advance CTE’s external equity strategy and oversees and facilitates workforce development, education, and equity initiatives, such as CTE Without Limits and Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for All, a national college and career pathways initiative that strives for every learner to have access to and succeed in high-quality and equitable pathways. She provides technical assistance to state and local education leaders, as well as national and state CTE leadership. Nithya also supports policy and implementation.
Ali Guarneros Luna
Ali Guarneros Luna is a Senior System Architect for Lockheed Martin, and was previously a senior NASA aerospace engineer. While at NASA, Ali supported the Small Satellite Technology Program at the Space Technology Mission Directorate, and managed multiple programs, including NASA Tipping Points, the Space Technology Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity, and other small satellite programs. Ali has also been involved in many small spacecraft programs as the Mission Manager of the Technology Education Satellite; Deputy Manager for Network & Operation Demonstration Satellite; System Engineer for Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites on the International Space Station National Laboratory, and many others at NASA Ames Research Center. Ali grew up in Mexico and at 14, immigrated to California. After graduating from high school but still learning English, she attended San Jose City College. There, she obtained an associate degree and then transferred to San Jose State University (SJSU), where she graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering.
Megan McArthur, Ph.D.
Dr. Megan McArthur is an American oceanographer, engineer, and NASA Astronaut. In 2021, she spent 200 days in space conducting scientific research and technology demonstrations aboard the International Space Station. She also served as pilot of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, which carried the crew to and from the ISS. In 2009, she served as a Mission Specialist aboard STS-125, the final space shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The successful mission improved the telescope’s capabilities and extended its life — it is still in operation today. Megan has a passion for education and sharing the wonders of spaceflight and exploration with her crewmates on Spaceship Earth. She is currently serving as the Chief Science Officer at Space Center Houston, while continuing to support the NASA Astronaut Office.
Ted Tagami is CEO and co-founder of education technology company Magnitude.io. Founded in 2013, Magnitude.io develops space, physics, earth science, and engineering programs for schools, science centers, libraries, and museums around the world with its ExoLab platform on the International Space Station. In 2018, Ted and his firm were awarded the ISS Research and Development Innovation Award in STEM Education from the ISS National Laboratory for the ExoLab’s novel approach to increasing access and reducing costs for experiments aboard the International Space Station. Ted has been on the Maker Faire boards for the Bay Area and New York. He has also been an aerospace STEM advisor for the Boy Scouts of America and an advisor for the U.S. Department of Education’s CTE Mission: CubeSat challenge. He is an active member of CASIS Space Station Explorers and currently serves on the Education User Advisory Committee for the ISS National Laboratory. Ted is also the Chairman of Summer.org, a nonprofit organization focused on stemming summer learning loss.
The review panel includes experts in CTE education, space education, and the space industry. Review panelists will score submissions according to the official selection criteria.
- Sara Alvarado, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
- Robert Atkins, Moog Inc
- Courtney Black, International Space Station National Laboratory
- Avery Brock, NASA Ames Research Center – KBR
- Steven Chance, NASA
- Nicholas Florio, Blue Origin
- Daniel Gillies, NOAA
- Alex Grab, Space Foundation
- Lauren Harter, VEX Robotics
- Ann Kapusta, Mission Operations
- Robert LaSalvia, NASA Office of STEM Engagement
- Katherine McConachie, Arizona State University
- Jennifer Munoz, STEM4Real
- Shadi Naderi, Air Force Research Laboratory
- Sunny Narayanan, Florida State University
- Stuart Pettis, Air & Space Forces Association
- Lindsay Sampson, Montgomery Public Schools
- Justine Schaen, NSF NOIRLab
- Diallo Shabazz, Braven Solutions
- Rhina Sterling, United States Space Force
- Sabrina Thompson, NASA
- Samantha Thorstensen, International Space Station National Laboratory
- Jacob Torres, Kennedy Space Center (Former)
- Stephen White, COSI
- Susan White, North Carolina Space Grant Consortium