Eric Toldi, College Outreach Committee Director
Eric Toldi received his Bachelor’s of Arts at Marlboro College in Vermont in the History of Science. Eric moved to Washington, D.C., where he menteed under Roger Launius at the National Air and Space Museum, and interned for Aerospace States Association with Charlie Huettner. After a year Eric moved to the Bay Area, where he joined AIAA-San Francisco and began writing a space history book about the ongoing development of commercial space. While this project was underway, a NASA Contractor from Ames Research Center named Richard Mains approached Eric about collaborating on a book about Bion, a biosatellite program with the Soviet Union that he worked on for 35 years. The two are currently well into the writing of this book. Eric is a teacher.
Stephanie Gowell, Chair
Stephanie Gowell is the Program Director and the incoming Vice Chair for 2015-2016. Stephanie attended the University of Michigan for a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Space Engineering. In her years at University, Stephanie was heavily involved with the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) University of Michigan chapter and the Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory. These experiences lead to Stephanie being accepted to the NASA Ames Academy in 2012, where she had the pleasure being a research associate in the Aeromechanics Branch. In 2013, Stephanie was selected to be a staff member of the NASA Ames Academy for Space Exploration and the Aeronautics Academy. Following the completion of her Master’s degree, Stephanie moved to the Bay Area to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.
Uma Verma, Vice Chair and Public Policy Director
As long as she can remember, Uma has loved aircraft. She graduated with a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering and minor in Project Management from Clarkson University. After attending a lecture about the future of space, Uma became deeply interested in the space industry and moved to the bay area last year. She currently works for The Coalition of Deep Space Exploration. Uma previously held positions with Deep Space Industries and UTC Aerospace Systems.
Last November, Uma took a position in Public Policy on the AIAA-SF council. A few months later, she met with members of congress about relevant legislation that impact our industry during AIAA’s Congressional Visit Day. She was proud to represent our society, and looks forward to the opportunity to continue serving AIAA throughout her career. On the side, Uma enjoys flying aircraft and is working toward her Private Pilot License.
Maxfield Bern, Secretary
Maxfield Bern attended the University of California at Davis until 2014 and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. While attending UC Davis, he was the founding treasurer for the AIAA student chapter’s revival in 2011, and continued on the board as vice-chairman and then chairman for the 2013-2014 term. At UC Davis, he was also active in SAE Aero Design competitions as part of the Aggie Micro-Aeronautics Team (AMAT), where he served as a group leader for the 2014 competition, where the team scored 1st place overall among more than 50 domestic and international teams. He was also co-founder of the Design for America studio at UC Davis, the 17th studio in that organization, which takes on projects of local and national significance and solves social, economic, and environmental problems using engineering and design.
He is currently working as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Sunnyvale, California and is serving as the Secretary for the AIAA San Francisco professional chapter. Recently, he was accepted into the Engineering Leadership Development Program, a 3 year rotational program that emphasizes volunteerism, high impact projects, and further engineering education.
Watson Attai, Treasurer
Watson Attai has been the treasurer of the AIAA San Francisco section since 2011. A graduate of UCSD, Watson currently works at NASA Ames Research Center designing, developing, testing, flying and operating small satellites using some of the latest commercial technologies. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising and spending time with his friends and family.
Miki Sode, Programs Director and NewSpace Liaison
As she followed and refined her passion, Miki received a B.A. in Physics with astrophysics minor emphasis from University of California, Berkeley. Her experience in spectral analysis of distant stars led her to analysis of bone loss among astronauts using medial imaging at NASA Ames Research Center during her master’s program in Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University. She took her study further in medical imaging and structural analysis of bone and received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from University of California, San Francisco. After leaving academia, she is currently a scientist at a clinical research organization, specialized in clinical trials for therapeutics for musculoskeletal diseases. Realizing that space is undeniably dear to her, she is now working on her own entrepreneurial projects, drawing on her unique multidisciplinary background and focusing on commercial space.
Thomas Lambot, Young Professionals Director
While growing up in Belgium, Thomas Lambot was on a strict diet of 60’s Sci-Fi and science magazines that instilled in him the dream of exploring the universe on magnificent starships. Because building those was harder than he expected, he went to school at the Universite Catholique de Louvain where he obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. His master thesis was conducted at the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics where he worked on heat flux measurement techniques for arcjet facilities. In order to further develop his skills in chemical and air-breathing systems, he pursued an additional Master in Aerospace Propulsion Systems at Supaero in France.
Thomas moved to the United States in 2012 to work at NASA Ames Research Center on the Microwave Thermal Rocket project, a DARPA-funded concept that has the ambition to reduce the cost to space by using beamed energy propulsion. He helped design, build and test a small demonstration prototype that was launched in 2014. By day, he is now working with the Program & Project Division, the Flight Opportunities Program and also one of the organizers of the Ames Early Career Network. By night, Thomas is the lead engineer of rLoop, a crowdsourced think tank that is one of the finalist in the SpaceX Hyperloop competition consisting in racing a prototype in a track by the end of this summer. In addition, he is also the chairman of the Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society. Whenever his schedule allows him some spare time, Thomas enjoys cooking, archery, tennis, craft beers and more Sci-Fi.
Sylvee Proehl, Membership Director
Determined and energetic leader with experience support of various propulsion and mechanical systems. Big picture thinker, insightful and efficient at interpreting needs and getting the right results.
Sylvee speaks several languages, is personable, straightforward, and excels at building effective relationships with colleagues and customers.
Her professional commitment extends beyond work and AIAA by serving as Chairperson of the Bay Area International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Model Based Systems Engineering Caucus, participating in engineering outreach programs at local grade schools, and volunteering at summer engineering outreach in programs for youth.
Sylvee is a University of Illinois undergraduate alumna (Go Fighting Illini!), and is finishing her Master’s of Science work at Santa Clara University. She enjoys skiing, running, Crossfit, traveling, and participating in local community events.
Sheen Kao, Communications Director (not pictured)
Hugo Wagner, K-12 STEM Director (not pictured)
Steven Cerri, Career Development Committee Director
Since 1999, Steven has helped thousands of technical professionals enhance their communication, management, and leadership skills through innovative, coaching, and published articles. As a sought-after speaker in the United States and internationally, he has presented at numerous industry association including AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), Rocky Mountain Workforce Development Association, and IEEE. As a former adjunct professor for the prestigious Technology Management Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he taught critical communication and business/entrepreneurship skills to graduate students. Some of his clients include the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Center, Sandia National Labs, GeoGraphix (a division of Halliburton), Long View Systems, Genetech, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation.
Steven’s real world experience as an engineer, technical manager, organizational leaders, and successful entrepreneur, coupled with his ability to understand and communicate with technical professionals, are what set him apart from other trainers. He began his career as an aeronautical engineer employed at Rockwell International Corporation working on Skylab, Shuttle, Shuttle Tug, and Meteorological Satellite programs. Throughout his career, he has managed individuals and teams in both government and commercial organizations. He was part of a team that launched InfoTech Development, a successful information technology (IT) firm focused on Department of Defense programs that was eventually bought by Pacer Systems, a British firm. He has been a program manager, director of corporate training, vice president of engineering, chief operations officer, and division general manager.
In every position he has held, it became apparent that Steven had a knack for training and coaching his direct reports to achieve extraordinary results. With this passion and expertise for teaching others, he eventually launched his own consulting and training organization to guide engineers and technical professionals to be as effective with people as they are with technology.
- Master of Business Administration, Pepperdine University
- Master of Science, Geophysics, University of Southern California
- Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical Engineering, California Polytechnic University
- Certified Master Practitioner of Neruo-Linguistic Programming
- Contributing Consultant/Speaker, PBS Television Series “Taking the Lead:
- The Management 2000 Revolution”
- Outstanding Professor Award, Technology Management Program, UC Santa Barbara
- Contributing author to the IEEE book: “The Balanced Engineer: Essential Ideas for Career Development”
- Author of the book: “The Fully Integrated Engineer: Combining Technical Ability and Leadership Prowess”
Anand Biradar, 2015-2016 Director of the Young Professionals Committee
Anand Biradar received his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune and MS in Mechanical Aerospace from Arizona State University. Anand share multidisciplinary background in robotics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Spacecraft. He lead teams to winning national challenge in UAVs and has worked various fixed wing and multirotors. He later worked on 3U cubesats at Planet Labs and currently working hybrid electric drones in Boston.
Anand has also been involved with national organizations such as SEDS USA, AIAA to support initiatives in aerospace and space exploration. Anand enjoys networking and has attended various space conferences. At AIAA-SF he lead efforts to grow Young Professional initiative and hosted multiple meetups to at aerospace startups in Bay Area.
Eric Wahl, Communications Director at Large
Ever since he was a kid, Eric Wahl was fascinated by space, and wanted to go there himself one day. Along the way, he got into software engineering, completing a B.S.E. at the University of Pennsylvania. Heading out into industry, working for companies both large and small, he continued to expand his knowledge and skills, branching out into areas such as electronics and ham radio. Along the way, he joined AIAA, eventually serving on the board of AIAA-SF. Subsequently, he obtained an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University, and then an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University, where some of his favorite topics included control systems and system engineering. (And if life was a video game, he would have “collected” degrees in chemical, biological, and civil engineering while he was at, but fortunately it isn’t.) Ironically, one thing his graduate experience made him appreciate was just how much of the world (and things out of this world) are ultimately run by software. He is currently doing his bit to try to make orbital access easier to obtain, while also pursuing other entrepreneurial activities.
Corwin Larkin, Council Member at Large
Corwin is a previous Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Program Director. He held the position of webmaster before Rick and after Steve when it was a volunteer job. Corwin joined the organization at Vandenberg AFB before it was AIAA.