Astra is spearheaded by an interdisciplinary team of capable youth leaders and young professionals.
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Zeina holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Business Law major) and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Honours – Space Law) and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. She is a passionate advocate for the need for effective law making in ensuring the fair, sustainable and safe use of outer space. She is an alumna of the 2021 European Centre for Space Law (ECSL)/ European Space Agency (ESA) Summer Course on Space Law and Policy and is a mentee in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Space4Women mentorship program – 2021/2022 cohort. She wrote an article ‘Outer Space and the Future of the Law’ in the 7th edition of Law in Society Journal published by Sydney University Law Society.
program DEPUTY DIRECTOR & PROGAM COORDINATOR
Georgi is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics)/ Bachelor of Mathematics degree at the University of Wollongong. Her interest in space stems from watching NASA Live, reading science fiction and watching movies like The Martian, which she has seen and read more times than she’d like to admit. When she graduates she wants to work on rovers and other space vehicles, and then later wants to move into the space science field where she has an interest in planetary science including planetary geochemistry and meteorology. Coming from a small country town, the Astra Program was her first exposure to the industry and she was a participant in the 2022/23 program. Georgi wants to prove there is a place in the space industry for everyone and advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in the industry.
Emmanouil is a third-year student at the University of Melbourne undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in politics and international studies and anthropology. He participated in the Astra program last year as a member of Acacia and is passionate about Australia’s growing role in space. As program manager, Emmanouil is excited to work with the program coordinators to deliver an exciting and engaging program for participants and stakeholders.
Alana is currently studying a Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Science at The University of Adelaide. Her introduction to the wonderful world of space came from watching rocket launches with her high school mathematics class, and she has been hooked ever since. Her passion lies at the intersection of space and technology, particularly on how our understanding of the universe is shaped by the evolution of software and technology. She joined the Adelaide University Space Society (AUSS) in her first year at university as the Merchandise Officer, and has enjoyed promoting the industry and sharing her love for space with others. Her passion for outreach motivated her to join the ASTRA committee this year as Communications Manager, with the goal of helping others find their place in space.
Phoebe Hancox is a dedicated communications student at RMIT University. With a profound passion for the Australian space industry, She has embarked on a journey to combine her love for digital marketing with the wonders of space exploration. Having discovered their fascination with space during a visit to the Space Discovery Center in Adelaide in 2021, Phoebe was captivated by the endless possibilities that the space industry creates. This experience ignited a desire to contribute to the growth and development of the Australian space industry through her skills in communication. Despite Phoebe’s fear of going to space (leaving Earth sounds scary), she is passionate about sharing the wonders of space with people, and proving that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be involved in the amazing space industry. They remain committed to continuous learning and growth, eagerly seeking opportunities to expand their knowledge of the latest developments in both communications and aerospace.
Akansha is studying a Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Wollongong. She has had a keen interest in criminal law and justice ever since watching legally blonde at the age of 6 (and then at least ten times a year since) and is particularly interested what makes crime, specifically criminal causation and jurisdiction. Her passion for space comes from the many questions and uncertainty surrounding space law, and specifically, space crime. She has also become very interested in the economic implications of space exploration, after being introduced to the possibilities for economic opportunities in her PPE degree. Akansha is beyond excited to see the changes and improvements to space law that will come about with increased space exploration, and the emerging role of young Australians.
Sam holds a double degree in Physics (Honours) and Computer Science from the University of New South Wales. She initially pursued astronomy research, specialising in the simulation of spiral galaxies during her honours project. However, driven by the rapid growth of Australia’s space industry, she now works as a Research and Development Engineer at a space startup. Sam has a lifelong enthusiasm for science, and has tutored first year physics courses at UNSW and volunteered at the Australian Museum during National Science Week. She is excited to see where the future of space exploration leads, and how space technologies can be used to impact industry and research on Earth. Sam is also interested in science outreach, particularly for rural and regional students as she grew up in a regional area and understands the importance of inspiring and empowering students to engage with STEM fields.
Gian currently studies and attends Juris Doctor at Monash University Faculty of Law. Gian had been part of the ASTRA Program for two years as both a participant and a Program Coordinator. Though he also holds a BA in Criminal Justice and comes from a non-STEM related background, he is passionate about the exponential potential young people have in shaping Australia’s future in the space industry and is excited to be a part of their journey. It is a strong belief Gian holds that reaching past standard expectations and breaking barriers is not a desire, but a fundamental necessity to become not only a better person, but as a better leader for future generations.
Dharshun is a visionary with a profound passion for emerging technologies, particularly Robotics and AI. With a strong academic background, he has also just recently completed a Masters of Robotics Engineering, specializing in autonomous vehicles. However, his expertise extends beyond the Earth’s boundaries, as he possesses significant experience in the science and technology aspects of the deep space sector. Boasting over a decade of experience as an Associate Director within Technology Advisory at KPMG, Dharshun possesses a unique blend of risk, strategy, and technology expertise. He has a proven track record of helping organizations grow and capitalize on their strategic backgrounds. Currently, Dharshun is in the midst of completing a Masters/Graduate Certificate in Space Operations. Additionally, he has successfully obtained a Graduate Certificate in identifying strategies for Planetary Defence against Coronal Mass Ejections. These accomplishments reflect his unwavering dedication to expanding his knowledge and staying at the forefront of the industry. As the co-founder of Piston Labs, Dharshun is passionately merging his professional expertise with his personal drive to usher in a new era of AI-enabled Space Robotics. With an unwavering commitment to deep space thinking, he endeavors to infuse this mindset into all aspects of his work.
Finlay is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Finance/Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) at the Australian National University. With a lifelong passion for space exploration, Finlay envisions a future where it becomes an integral facet of our collective human experience, unlocking limitless opportunities and positively impacting life here on Earth as we become a multi-planetary species. Drawing from a diverse background in entrepreneurship, startups, and project management, Finlay has been involved with a wide range of organisations such as Australasian Youth Cubesat Initiative, 180 Degrees Consulting and ANU Rocketry. He is interested in the many economic opportunities that space exploration will unlock, as well as solutions to some of humanities most pressing issues, such as climate change and poverty. Finlay aims to share his experiences and skillset with others, motivating them to pursue career pathways within the Australian space industry. By nurturing a sense of curiosity and wonder, Finlay hopes to empower individuals to pursue their dreams and make meaningful contributions to the future of space exploration and technology.
Vanshika, a Kenyan student pursuing a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) at the University of South Australia, radiates a supernova of exhilaration when it comes to all things space. With her gaze fixed firmly on the cosmic tapestry above, she knows that the saying “the sky is the limit” barely scratches the surface of her soaring ambitions. To Vanshika, rockets are the celestial keys that unlock portals to boundless dimensions beyond the ethereal canopy. Fuelling her insatiable excitement, she embarks on a quest to craft her own star-faring vessel, daring to traverse where no one has ventured before. Join Vanshika as she defies gravity’s grasp, cascading through galaxies and twirling amidst constellations. Brace yourself for a thrilling cosmic escapade, as Vanshika’s infectious enthusiasm propels us into a breathtaking symphony of celestial wonders. Together, we’ll transcend earthly bounds, dancing among the stars and scripting our extraordinary fate in the ever-expanding cosmic chronicles.