Candidate Platforms for Director of Chapter Affairs

Basu, Palash

I was born in the beautiful city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1983 of Indian parents. My parents moved back to India shortly after my birth. My parents wanted me to get my school education from India and college education in the US-a best of both worlds. I completed my formal education till the higher secondary level in Calcutta, India. I come from a high school called South Point High School in Calcutta, India which houses the second highest number of students in the world. It is a highly competitive school where only the best succeed and I am proud to say that I have been a big success at South Point, which obviously played a huge part in making me the intense and challenge-seeking student that I am. I have always had an inclination in Mathematics and space studies. Books and movies on science fiction, specially the ones on space sciences are of special interest to me. Thus inferring from my academic tendencies and my space-oriented interests, it became obvious to me that I would have to be an aerospace engineer. Apart from this, I was captain of my high school class for four years. I always saw a growing leader in myself, someone willing to take the initiative and spend the energy to lead the activities of a group of individuals and achieve a goal. It was a moment of great honor and achievement for me when I was awarded the President's scholarship to study aerospace engineering at IIT from the fall of 2002. However, IIT being a small, though intense school was limiting my opportunities for self-development. So, I transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall of 2004. I have been flooded with opportunities ever since. Most importantly I have become part of Illinois Space Society and its activities. I became aware of open leadership positions at SEDS Executive Board through Illinois Space Society. In that opportunity I found exactly what I was looking for-leadership. Thus I decided to do what I am best at-grab the opportunity.

Goals for 2005:
As defined in Article II, Section 2 of the National Constitution of SEDS, the purpose of SEDS-USA is "to coordinate the efforts of students in the United States of America who are interested in promoting space exploration and development." Hence it follows that the position of the Director of Chapter Affairs becomes critical in the interaction between the space enthusiast and SEDS-USA. The position aids bonding and coordination of the activities of the individual chapters affiliated with SEDS-USA, while the chapters in turn bond and coordinate the efforts and ideas of students, who are enthusiastic about space and its exploration.

I will work actively with chapter representatives to ensure that the chapters are functioning properly by following the guidelines of SEDS-USA constitution and by-laws. The individual chapters need to frequently organize educational outreach programs and space-related activities that would be a platform for chapter members to present their ideas and share their knowledge about space. I will contact chapter representatives frequently about the state of affairs and ask each of them to submit a list of activities they have organized or planned for their chapter. Among the list of activities, importance should be placed on educational outreach, inviting speakers, field trips, doing space-related research and development and fundraising through corporate contacts. I will contact the chapters frequently to inquire about the issues facing them and listen to their ideas and demands. The demands would then be met in consultation with the Executive Board.

Communication is critical to the consolidation and success of a coherent organization and one of my goals would be to build a robust communication system among the different chapters as well as between each chapter and the Executive Board. There should a forum where each chapter representative as well as Executive Board member would post about their activities regularly. All chapters should be made aware of the forum, so that they check it regularly. The chapter representatives will then reach out to the chapter members with information about the postings on the forum. Thus every chapter will be aware of the happenings in their chapters as well in other chapters This will add great transparency to the system and place every chapter on an unbiased level-playing field. This would also go a long way to remove representation bias in the Executive Board while accommodating the interests of the individual chapters. A clear communication program would remove any bias in representation and election of Executive Board members. My goal would be to not have more than one Executive Board member from the same SEDS chapter. The board members should also be well represented from all parts of the United States of America. The Council of Chapters votes would be organized with complete fairness. Overall, there should be equality and fairness in all aspects of governing SEDS-USA and its individual chapters.

The position of the Director of Chapter Affairs is significant in the SEDS organization and is associated with a lot of responsibilities. However, the responsibilities are attractive to me and I would make my best endeavors to fulfill them. I dream of seeing SEDS being equivalent in reputation to AIAA one day and I hope there will be significant progress towards that dream under my leadership.

I have always been an adventurer from the very beginning, willing to carry out experiments in and about everything. I have a knack of solving problems in unconventional ways. The primal ambition to discover unconquered space renders me the motivation to be an avid enthusiast and pursue a career in space. Thus a position at the Executive Board means a win-win situation for me. I get to satiate my hunger for knowledge about space and also exercise my leadership skills.

Rechenmacher, Alex

Greetings! My name is Alex Rechenmacher and I am running to be re-elected as your Director of Chapter Affairs. I am an Aerospace Engineer from a large suburbia city, Naperville, Illinois. From an early age, I have always been excited about the prospect of space travel and furthermore was angered that most talk about space exploration ended up in my history books rather than my science books! After spending most of my younger grade school years learning about our Solar System and nearby stars, my interest turned to rocketry in high school. At Naperville North High School, I busied myself with my baseball team, Church activities, and math and science (and excelling in all except baseball, but I still watch games). My skills and my interests converged nicely with my acceptance to Illinois' Aerospace Engineering program (with a Business Minor). Once here, under the inspiration of my peers and family, I quickly involved myself with many organizations, including Sigma Phi Delta Engineering Fraternity and AIAA. My most rewarding accomplishment has been my involvement with the Illinois Space Society. From four enthused members, we have grown to over 50 in just under a year. Being our Engineering Open House Director last year and seeing how a simple video of a rocket can excite a five year old kid motivates me to no end. I use this, the example set by the new private space industry, and working with my peers to keep myself constantly willing to work towards my goals.

Goals for 2005:
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, during the last twelve months, has grown by leaps and bounds. Under Josh Neubert's leadership, we have strengthened the national organization to what it is now from basically nothing. As a team, not as individuals, have we put together a very strong group that will last for a very long time. As your Director of Chapter Affairs, I have worked towards creating a strong web connecting chapters across the country. While spending most of the first few months putting together a solid list of chapter contacts, the last few have been spent setting up a strong communication system between chapters and nationals. I truly feel that the forms system and Efficiency Contest I have installed should sufficiently satisfy this goal of mine.

As Director for the next year, I truly wish to "step it up" a notch. I feel ready to move on to the next level of putting together our communication network. The first year has been spent trying to find ground on which to stand. We are now firmly in place and ready to extend our success to the chapters. I feel first and foremost that the Director's priority for this upcoming year should be inter-chapter communication and activities. My wish is for the Council of Chapters to really become a team that works together to accomplish new and exciting things. Our first Council Meeting (which was amazingly successful, I might add) really opened the communication doors.

Two things will be important in the upcoming year. First, our chapters must talk more! Not only is it important for national structure, but how cool is it to find people across the country as crazy about space exploration as you are?!? Second, nationals must continue to communicate regularly with its chapters, and vice versa. As your Director of Chapter Affairs, I promise that I will continue the work I have begun. I promise to work with both the Executive Board and the Council of Chapters to open the lines of communication and get ideas shared!

Sharma, Megha

"In dreams Begin Responsibilities", not just a fact but the truth of my life. Megha, the second child of the traditional Sharma family, much against their desires for a baby boy, was a dream come true for her Mom. Born in a small township of Ambala in north India at the foothills of Himalayas on the 5th of May, 1986, I have never fallen less of the expectations of the conventional minded family. I started mainstream schooling at the age of four at the best school in my hometown, Convent of Jesus and Mary, CJM. At that time I had no idea that this would become my alma-mater for the next almost 13 years of life.

CJM time has by and far been the best part of my life. Academics, sports, acting, public speaking, elocution, mischief, I did it all and all so good. I was the monitor of the class from grade one till grade nine consecutively. In 1995, I got elected as the Student's Council Member. I captained the girls' basketball team in school for two years. Excellent grades and outstanding performance in co-curricular and sports earned me the Best Student Award. First Prize in Elocution was like my prototype from first to the seventh grade. After graduating from High School with a first division, getting selected into Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle was like the first biggest step in the realization of my life-long dream.

Though the family never approved of a profession dominated by men but since then, there's been no looking back. In the very first semester I got actively involved with ERFSEDS, which was an organization doing closest to what I wanted to do. I was elected as the Secretary for the club and also the leader for the solicitation team of the Rocket Project-Icarus. With my strong interest in Astronomy, I have revived the astronomical activities on campus as a part of the ERFSEDS. Maintaining a 3.789 with three jobs and extra-curricular activities, its been hard work and determination that has driven me through. Like a dream that is more real than the reality, its been a long way for this small town girl.

I have big dreams, but a bigger responsibility to attain them. And hence I live by the belief that I have to reach for the stars because for me every end is a new beginning.

Goals for 2005:

I started as a freshman in Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in the fall of 2003. I came from India with the goal of making a difference in The space industry and making my contribution in every way possible to make aerospace and space-related careers the most revered and sought after in the society. So the attainment of this main goal has directed me to set up my goals for every year.

Just as last year, my aim this year also would be to keep-abreast with all the latest developments in the field so that I can spread the right knowledge among the non-space related population. Betterment and progress of ERFSEDS would be one of the main focus in this regard. I plan to help in big fund-raising to get the group on good standing for the next year as well. As I have undertaken the responsibility of helping the astronomy team of ERFSRDS, reviving the interest of the school community as well as others in the field of astronomy and space knowledge will also be on the big plan of things this semester. One of the most ambitious projects is the construction of an observatory on the Embry Riddle Campus so that space knowledge becomes more easily available to the non-space related majors. And that too in a way that will be interesting to them. This will be a great exposure for the high school students who are interested in space and will allow them to plan ahead for the particular field of space industry they are interested in.

If I do get elected into the National Executive Board of SEDS, it will give me the much-awaited chance to extend my plans further than just the confines of the campus of Embry Riddle. The position of Director of Chapters will enable me to interact with many like-minded people in the different parts of the country and elsewhere, who share the same interests as me and hence will give me an opportunity to chanalize all our efforts in the direction of meeting our common goal of spreading space knowledge in the society. With my contacts in India, I will be able to induct a whole new group of energetic space explorers, especially with the space industry picking up at such a fast pace over there. Along with all this of course, I also plan to maintain an excellent academic record.