Board of Directors
Founder & CEO
Ms. Gorthi is a rising freshman attending Columbia University in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as a C. Prescott Davis Scholar. Gitika is aspiring to become an aerospace physician, astronaut, and medical researcher. Working with NASA Ames Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine Space Medicine Center, Brown University, and Columbia Medical School, Ms. Gorthi is working with visionary aerospace industry leaders to advance our current medical understanding.
Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors
Dr. Jennifer Fogarty
Dr. Jennifer Fogarty is the Director of the Applied Health and Performance Division at Sophic Synergistics and is the Chief Scientific Officer at Translational Research Institute for Space Health. Dr. Fogarty has over twenty years of experience in human physiology and extreme environments and was the First Female NASA Human Research Program Chief Scientist from November 2017 to January 2021.
Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors
Mr. Alan Anderson is a former Rachel Carson Middle School TechEd teacher and member of the National Association of Rocketry. He has a high powered rocketry license and expertise in education curriculum development in K-12 schools.
Mr. Anderson is the teacher, mentor, and friend who has inspired Gitika to build model rockets and pursue space sciences. He supported Gitika’s first event in IgnitedThinkers by completely funding all of the supplies and kits, & helped her attend the NASA Goddard Center SISTERS Program in the 7th-grade.
Ms. Harriet Hunt is a senior studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has worked at NASA MSFC as an SLS Software Test and Verification Intern, Collins Aerospace as a Software Engineering Intern, and Northrop Grumman as a Systems Engineering Intern.
She recently recieved incredible job and internship opportunities at various reputable space companies, including SpaceX.
She is a STEM communicator and uplifts minorities in STEM with her engaging/empowering social media content -- biggest platform on Twitter
Ms. Sophia Jones is a Stanford University graduate student who pursued her B.S. in Physics with an Astrophysics concentration and is pursuing her M.A in Public Policy with a Science and Technology concentration.
Additionally, Ms. Jones is a volunteer for the National Space Society as a Debate Coach and will be a business operations intern at SpaceX this summer. Previously, Ms. Jones was a Space Policy Intern at the Aerospace Corporation and Space for Humanity. She used to Co-Lead the Space Policy team at Stanford Space Initiative and was an intern at NASA Ames Research Center.
Mr. Stadd was founder and president of Capitol Alliance Solutions, LLC, a Washington, DC, area based management consulting services firm established in 1993 with a diverse range of public and private sector clients in aerospace (space and ground-based), satellite imagery and navigation, and other high technology initiatives.
His senior federal positions include: Chief of Staff/White House Liaison, NASA (2001-03); the White House (1989-92) where he was Senior Director/Commercial Space and chaired an interagency group focused on the drafting of numerous Presidential policy space-related directives; US Department of Transportation (1986-88) — direct report to the Secretary as head of the regulatory and advocacy office for licensing commercial space launch vehicles and spaceports; U.S. Department of Commerce (1984-86) — advised the Office of the Secretary on matters relating to space technology commercialization and helped establish the Office of Space Commerce; NASA HQ (1992-93) – Deputy Associate Administrator for Advanced Concepts and special assistant to the Administrator.
Mr. John Hines is the founder of the non-profit organization The Hines Family Foundation, which uses space missions and technologies to help students advance their 21st century career capabilities by learning how to dream, design, and do.
Previously, Mr. Hines was the Chief Technologist for the NASA Ames Research Center.
Prior to assuming the position as ARC Chief Technologist, John was Chief Technologist in the ARC Engineering Directorate.
Ms. Christina Korp is an astronaut manager, space advisor and the president of Purpose Entertainment. For ten years she managed Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and launched his education foundations – ShareSpace and the Aldrin Family Foundation. She produced the last five galas at Kennedy Space Center celebrating Apollo 11 and the Webby winning and Emmy nominated, “Cycling Pathways to Mars” VR experience.
She is passionate about promoting ways space benefits the planet and people every day and promoting women’s issues. She spearheaded projects in 2020 to celebrate the Women’s Vote Centennial in the USA. She leads SPACE For a Better World producing events and experiences that raise money for partner charities. She currently works with Apollo 16 moon walker Charlie Duke and NASA astronaut and aquanaut Nicole Stott.
Ms. Brittany Greer is the Founder and CEO of Rosie Riveters. Rosie Riveters is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to equip and empower preschool to middle school girls from diverse backgrounds to be strong, confident, and competent in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by providing a fun space to imagine, learn, build, and play.
IgnitedThinkers has partnered with the Rosie Riveters in fostering the spread of space education and inspiring girls around the world.
Ms. Shelli Brunswick is the COO of Space Foundation, where she brings a broad perspective and deep vision of the global space ecosystem — from a distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader and congressional liaison for the U.S. Air Force to her current role, including overseeing Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365, and Global Alliance.
As a leading role model for women in space, Ms. Brunswick was selected as the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Role Model of the Year by WomenTech Network and a Woman of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Ms. Brunswick chairs the Women in Aerospace Foundation, chairs Space Entrepreneurship at Tod’Aers, and hosts the Women’s Global Gathering annually at Space Symposium.
Gitika is a rising freshman attending Columbia University in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as a C. Prescott Davis Scholar. Gitika is aspiring to become an aerospace physician, astronaut, and medical researcher. Working with NASA Ames Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine Space Medicine Center, Brown University, and Columbia Medical School, Ms. Gorthi is working with visionary aerospace industry leaders to advance our current medical understanding.
Sahpar Nil Ozer
Co-International Outreach Volunteer Lead
Ms. Özer is a Junior at American Collegiate Institute, Turkiye. In addition to the education and awards she got from institutions such as NASA and CERN, Şahpar is preparing for her dream of becoming an aerospace engineer through research projects and internship programs in various US and Turkish universities. Ms. Özer is currently working to introduce the game of Go and STEM careers to children and contribute to the awareness of society, alongside her IB program.
Aerospace Contest Volunteer Lead
Maria Cuevas is a rising freshman at Columbia University where she will be majoring in astrophysics and computer science. Maria aspires to get her PhD in astrophysics and create a startup in the space industry. Her ultimate goal is to use astrophysics as a tool to characterize new worlds and open up new possibilities for humanity.
K-12 School Outreach Lead
Sangu Reshmy is currently a freshman at Bentonville West High School. She is deeply passionate about astronomy and is working towards pursuing a career in it.
Sangu is involved in STEM organizations in and out of school to help increase others’ interest in STEM through her work and increase her knowledge. She is also a current finalist in an international competition, Conrad Challenge. With her partner, she designed a portable, low-cost, lightweight MRI to be put in the space station to revolutionize the future of space travel.
Through her work with Ignited Thinkers, Sangu hopes to help spread her love for astronomy and educate young individuals on space exploration.
University Outreach Lead
Akriti is a final-year undergraduate aerospace student at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh and an upcoming graduate student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
Aspiring to be a space engineer, Akriti wants to contribute to making human space launches affordable and accessible to everyone.
Passionate about space activities, she is also the founder of her college's first rocketry team and wants to create awareness pertaining to the opportunities and excitement of working in the aerospace industry.
National Outreach Volunteer Lead
Megan Sawant is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Passionate about biomedicine and the impact of interstellar environment on human explorers, she is the outreach sublead for Project Caelus, the first independent high school to launch a liquid fueled rocket into space. Megan is a Chief Master Sergeant & Cadet Advisory Council member in Civil Air Patrol, working towards her pilot’s license. She participated in the NASA Cinespace Challenge, creating a video highlighting the advancements of the NASA Artemis missions. Through Ignited Thinkers, she hopes to empower young individuals to get excited about the opportunities space exploration holds.
Co-International Outreach Volunteer Lead
Shreya Sharma is an incoming PhD student at the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at MIT AeroAstro. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering (majoring in Aerodynamics) in 2020 from IIT Kanpur, where she worked on an experimental method for Vortex Breakdown Control, and a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics in 2018 from IIEST Shibpur. She also has experience as an intern at IIT Kharagpur, researching guided-wave based detection of delamination in composites. Since 2020, she has been working as a Product Design Engineer at Eaton India Innovation Centre, in the Aerospace - Fuel and Motion Control Team.
Website Content Volunteer Lead
Ira Sharma, a 16-year-old from Kathmandu, Nepal is a current A-Levels student at Little Angels' College GCE A Levels. As a passionate individual in Science and Space and with a joint interest in giving back to the community, Ira is always interested in learning and spreading all she learns. She aspires to increase her horizon of knowledge as much as possible to aspire for a better future with other passionate individuals.
Ignited Thinkers is one such amazing platform where Ira can follow her interests along with spread the knowledge she has gained in the past years through being one of the 12 participants in The VR BETA Program, representing Nepal in Space Camp India, and many more!
From providing guidance to being someone to share your silly jokes with, Ira is the go-to person for everyone and we are delighted to have her as she says "I feel delighted to be a part of the integral team of Ignited Thinkers and cannot wait for all that awaits.
Social Media Lead
Janet Omoruyi is a sophomore at New Explorations into Science, Technology, and Math (NEST+m) High School, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She’s passionate about a multitude of things, as she’s an actress, writer, singer, debater, and avid feminist.
In the spring of last year, she was selected as a finalist for the NYC Space Prize Challenge, a citywide competition dedicated to furthering women in STEM and improving space literacy. From there, she’s gotten numerous opportunities through the organization, including boarding a Zero-Gravity Flight with a Star Trek actress and participating in a round table with UN Ambassador Greenfield. Janet is also a debater in the NYC Urban Debate League, collecting numerous team and individual awards and top three placements. When Janet is not singing or writing, she is either exemplifying Black excellence as a member of her school’s BSU or inspiring confidence in a kindergarten student by teaching her to read. She’s not fully sure what she wants to do yet, but as a lifelong New Yorker, she inspires to learn about the science of cities, and how she can improve the way real people live their lives through urban engineering, or politics. Janet fully believes that being confident in yourself means uplifting others to do the same!