Our Team

Dr Perry is the founder of the Space Science Engineering/environmental Foundation (SSEF). The SSEF is a registered UK charity. It supports the Environmental Design Challenge (EDC) for 15-18 year-old students, Eco Meet, the junior challenge for 9-14 year olds, the  UKEU Middle East and Africa Space Design Competitions for 15-18 year-old students and the junior Galactic Challenge for 9-14 year-old students. He is a director of the Global Space Design Challenge and Pro Ed et al, which support the charities. He has held the US and Canada National Science Foundation Fellowship at University of Oxford and has received a Royal Society Fellowship at Imperial College London where he remains as academic staff. He has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, and is a certified NASA astrobiologist.  His current focus is on education. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and is the author of six novels under RS Perry. He is a script writer and is a member of the Writers Guild of America West. He has visited many of the Earth’s extreme habitats, including diving in ‘Alvin’ to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. He has also sailed across the Atlantic in a small sailboat.

Dr Randall Perry

Founder UKSDC, EDC and SSEF its Honorary Chair

Dangoor Education provides opportunities across the learning spectrum with sponsorship of Westminster Academy, Open University Massive Open Online Courses, STEM university scholarships, the Dangoor Centre for Medical Education at the Royal Society of Medicine and the Dangoor Centre for Personalised Medicine at Bar Ilan University. Dangoor Education’s sponsorship of the UK, EU Space Design Competitions and Galactic Challenges builds on the fantastic legacy of Sir Naim Dangoor, who supported the Competition for a number of years.

David Dangoor CBE

SSEF Honorary President

Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He was previously President of the Mathematical Association, an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His academic work concerns mainly group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding the inaugural holder Richard Dawkins.

Marcus du Sautoy FRS, OBE

Patron

Professor Richard Ghail is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London and a former Lecturer in Engineering Geology, based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London.  His research interests are in The London Basin Forum, Intraplate Processes and the Neotectonics of Great Britain, Plate Tectonics of Buoyant Lithospheres and EnVision. Richard proposed Envision and led the ESA science study up to its selection. The mission will apply many of the InSAR technologies and techniques developed for ground engineering to characterise and measure geological activity on Venus.

 

Dr Richard Ghail

Trustee Chair SSEF

Trisha holds a Master of Science degree in Physics from Imperial College London. In 2017, she was recognised as the Female Undergraduate of the Year. She has two years’ experience in the asset management industry and currently works as a SpaceTech Investment Analyst at Seraphim Space, a space-focused venture capital fund which looks to invest in promising space startups of the future. Since 2016, Trisha has been on the Organising Board and a judge at the UK Space Design Competition, prior to which she competed in the competition herself and was elected to the team representing the UK at the International Space Settlement Design Competition. She is also the Co-Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Space Science and Engineering Foundation.

Trisha Saxena

Trustee Co-Vice Chair SSEF

Jian started volunteering with UKSDC in 2009, first as a supporting technical specialist, and later on as judge and “company” CEO. After having completed his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, he currently works as a reliability engineer in the petroleum industry, specialising in technical risk management and system reliability solutions in the hostile underwater environment. The best treat of his volunteering weekends is seeing creative ideas from young candidates coming together into designs.

Jian He

Trustee Co-Vice Chair SSEF

Helen Oliver is a Research Associate in the Networks and Operating Systems Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. She has been volunteering as a Judge and Technical Expert with the UKSDC since 2011, when she was working in the Design Engineering Group at Imperial College London. She has been a Judge at the International Finals at both NASA Johnson and NASA Kennedy. She is the original developer of designVUE, a concept mapping software application for capturing design rationale, which was subsequently used in a project at NASA Ames to analyse a case study of system failure. Her current research interests include the Internet of Things, personal data stores, privacy by design and wearable technology.

Dr Helen Oliver

Trustee SSEF

Mark Sephton is Professor of Organic Geochemistry at Imperial College London. He is an astrobiologist who develops new techniques for the detection of prebiotic chemistry and life in the solar system. In recognition of his work on extraterrestrial samples, asteroid 7552 'Sephton' currently orbits between Mars and Jupiter. He is a science team member for the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission that will collect samples of Mars for return to Earth and for the Europa Clipper mission that will use mass spectrometry to search for evidence of habitability and life in the subsurface ocean of Jupiter’s icy moon.

Mark Sephton

Trustee SSEF

Sir Christian Sweeting is the Chairman of Palace Investments and is engaged in a number of charitable endeavours, including serving as a trustee of the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation. He is also a trustee of the Vatican City State Endowment dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Vatican, its grounds and the art treasures of the Vatican museums. Christian is delighted to continue his support of the SSEF and believes that the UK, EU Space Design Competition and the Galactic Challenge are extraordinarily valuable for everyone taking part, providing a tremendous opportunity, stimulus and experience which are essential in the formation of outstanding young people.

Sir Christian Sweeting

Trustee SSEF

Liz was an integral part of the original founding team for the SSEF and the organising chair for the 2011 UK Space Design Competition. She graduated from the University of Bristol in 2007 with an MEng in Aerospace Engineering and has spent the last three years as an aeronautics researcher at Imperial College. Her PhD was in hypersonics (very high speed aerodynamics). She is currently at California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) and JPL. When she’s not working, Liz enjoys hiking, writing stories, drawing in London’s various museums and learning Japanese.

Dr Elizabeth Luthman

Founding Trustee SSEF

Alison Ahearn is a Principal Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, teaching undergraduates and postgraduates civil engineering law and management. At College level, she works with the Educational Development Unit on teacher-development and on the formalising of systems for recognising the learning achieved by students outside the classroom. Alison joined UKSDC for its first London final and brings boardroom experience from her 10 years as Chair of the Zebra Housing Association (student accommodation).  Alison has a particular interest in industry-academic partnerships and versimilitude in project-based learning. She is currently the director of Pro Ed et al., which supports the SSEF through its educational programmes.

Alison Ahearn

Trustee SSEF

As a passionate believer in the benefits that practical science brings to school based learning, Jenny has taught in both the private and public sectors and has additionally worked with a variety of agencies to promote and fund the setting up of Science Clubs. She received a BSc from University of Westminster in biological sciences. She attended University of Sussex and received an endorsement to teach chemistry after having receiving her PGCE from University of Middlesex. Having worked voluntarily for the UKSDC, she is now excited to have the opportunity to extend their project-based learning methods to a wider audience and is looking forward to the continued success of the Space Science Engineering Foundation (SSEF), the EUSDCMEASDC and UKSDC and Galactic Challenges. When not working with SSEF and GC, Jenny enjoys the great outdoors by taking part in Open Water Swimming challenges, as a member of the UK Wild Camping group and as an assessor and trainer for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Jenny Lyons

Director of Education and Outreach & Finance Controller and Reporting

Sam has recently joined the GSDC after spending 25 years providing world-class customer service in the air with British Airways. Now that her wings have been clipped, she is looking forward to organising and running the GSDC programmes with the rest of the team. Sam is calm and efficient and, as our Programme Coordinator, she will enjoy using the super organised side of her personality to ensure that all our events run smoothly. On her days off, she can be found hanging out at the beach, paddleboarding or officiating a basketball game.

Sam Hession

Secretary to the SSEF Trustees and Director of GSDC

Dr Beach is passionate about education. She has spent a career nurturing  youth in the fields of language and literature. She has also created poetry and song lyrics that have, respectively, been published and performed. Lately, Dr Beach has used her writing skills to inform students of the perils to our environment and to advocate for solutions to looming climatic disasters.

Dr Ethel L. Beach

Creative Consultant

Sahba is the environmental programme coordinator and the regional coordinator for the Europe Space Design Competition based in Strasbourg. France. Originally from Jordan, she attended the German-Jordan University for three years before getting her BASc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. . She has held several research positions at universities and companies including Intel Corporations. She is passionate about both the environment and engineering, and the Design Competitions. Her interests span environmental issues, space exploration, robotics virtual reality, manufacturing automation, and social entrepreneurship.

Sahba El-Shawa

Environmental Programme Coordinator

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