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Presenting Sponsor

Reunion Weekend

June 21-22, 2024
This weekend is a great opportunity to put your company name before hundreds of camp alumni, many of whom are young professionals working in STEM careers.

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

The Space Camp Hall of Fame was established to honor the outstanding members of the Space Camp family, including graduates and former employees who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers or friends who have made considerable contributions or personal time, effort or resources to further the goals of the Space Camp programs.

Col. Heather Bogstie

Senior Materiel Leader, Resilient Missile Warning, Tracking, and Defense — United States Space Force
Colonel Bogstie was inspired through her attendance at Space Camp to pursue a career in space for the military. Knowing that so many astronauts have a military background, and coupled with her family’s strong military heritage joining the Air Force was a natural pathway to reach her dreams. She spent time as a missile operator in Minot, North Dakota before leaping into space acquisitions. She has led the development, test, and launches of satellites performing missile warning, space domain awareness, and communications. Her time at Space Camp taught her to always be searching for new innovations and technologies that will boost the capabilities of Department of Defense, that teamwork is crucial in mission success, and partnerships with other government agencies, industry, and international allies are the key in furthering advancements in space. When relaying her origin story, Colonel Bogstie always credits her time at Space Camp as to why she was inspired to pursue Space as a career. She learned how to get out of her comfort zone, challenge herself, communicate clearly, team with others, and lead a group toward mission success. She hopes her origin story will inspire others to pursue their dreams and carve out a path to achieving those goals.

Cindy Mahler

Director, University Research & Development Partnerships Program for Boeing

A few of Cindy’s post-camp achievements are shared here as highlights of her 25+ year aerospace career. They serve as a testimony for how one incredible week of belonging at Space Academy Level II as a sophomore in high school cemented her passion and desire to make a difference in the aerospace field.

As an early career engineer for United Space Alliance at NASA Johnson Space Center, Cindy was responsible for negotiating with Russian counterparts the International Space Station (ISS) Motion Control System joint astronaut and cosmonaut training programs. This redefined how training for ISS expedition missions was conducted so crew members learned how the systems worked together to operate the station. The success of integrated training led to a reduction in crew member training from 4 to 2.5 years. NASA astronauts awarded Cindy a Silver Snoopy Award, an achievement given to less than 1% of the workforce, for this great accomplishment just 3 years out of college.

Cindy has worked for The Boeing Company since 2003 supporting numerous NASA programs including Shuttle, ISS, Constellation, Commercial Crew and Space Launch System. In 2014, Cindy led and executed Boeing’s Commercial Crew Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR) bringing together 9 Integrated Product Teams including suppliers to produce over 1400 products and 77 presentations adhering to NASA and Boeing review entrance/exit criteria and standards. This was a critical time in the commercial crew journey as the team was asked to flawlessly execute at the end of a contract while the future of the program was unknown due to the next phase proposal efforts being underway. Cindy’s leadership was praised by Boeing and NASA and she received a Boeing Leadership Award as a result.

In 2019, Cindy graduated from the Boeing Leadership Next (LX) program representing the top 0.4% highest performers who aspire to move into formal or technical leadership. Participation in the 2-year program allowed Cindy numerous opportunities not only to network and be exposed to Boeing operations around the country and the globe but to also lean into challenging roles outside of directly supporting NASA programs.

During her time in LX, she worked for Boeing’s HorizonX organization as the first Space Commercialization Strategy Lead strategically integrating across Boeing businesses, customers, non-traditional partners and startups to identify, evaluate and test new technologies and business models. She successfully investigated whether there are new $B space markets that Boeing could shape including Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Lunar commercialization opportunities and aligned globally available technologies with business unit needs to aid competitive and strategic advantage. In June of 2021, Cindy was published in Boeing’s Innovation Quarterly Magazine. In October 2020, Cindy joined Boeing Research & Technology (and later Boeing’s Enterprise Technology Office) to direct and manage a multi-million-dollar global Research and Development (R&D) program and team investing in early Technical Readiness Level (TRL) research aligned to Boeing priorities and technical focus areas at key partner universities. This also includes running a global PhD work experience internship program to attract and build relationships with critical skilled talent that has a high transition rate to full-time employment.

In April 2023, Cindy was selected as a Purdue Outstanding Aerospace Engineer. The award recognizes just 2% of the department’s alumni for their professional contributions demonstrating excellence in industry, academia, or governmental service and reflecting the value of a Purdue aerospace engineering degree.

Kevin Metrocavage

International Space Station Operations Manager — NASA Headquarters
Prior to being hired as a Flight Controller at NASA’s Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Metrocavage was inspiring the next generation of explorers at the Mission Control at Space Camp. Metrocavage frequently noted his role as counselor at Space Camp as the “the best summer job in the world”. He passionately led students, adults, educators and even astronaut families (during prelaunch space shuttle events) through various Space Camp educational programs, while sharpening his own extensive knowledge of spaceflight history and science. Space Camp Programs focus on teamwork and leadership skills. Beginning with his counselor role at Space Camp, Kevin would not only promote those skills to his teams but would gain experiences of his own that would eventually land him a position at NASA/United Space Alliance in Mission Control to plan missions, develop training for Flight Controllers and Astronauts, and operate the International Space Station (ISS) throughout ISS assembly and beyond. His time at Space Camp honing those skills laid the foundation for what would become a notable career in human spaceflight operations and leadership roles. Metrocavage also utilized his conflict management experience as counselor during his various roles at NASA where he served as a Flight Controller, Instructor, and Manager for the ISS Motion Control Systems group. As an Attitude Determination and Control Officer (ADCO), Metrocavage planned, coordinated, monitored, and executed ISS maneuvers in support of a variety of complex operations. As Instructor, Metrocavage was responsible for training astronauts, cosmonauts, and peers on ISS systems. He has recognized that explaining science topics and history began during his time as Space Camp Counselor. It was also during his counselor tenure that he would be exposed to various levels of students from throughout the United States and foreign countries. This diversity of students would prove beneficial as he would go on to work closely with ISS partners from around the world. He supported 18 ISS Assembly Missions and over 66 ISS Expeditions from Houston, Huntsville, Titusville, Washington D.C. and internationally in Moscow, Russia. His passion for educational outreach and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics (STEAM), would lead him to accept the role as Executive Officer for NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement at NASA Headquarters (HQ). In this role, he supported the Associate Administrator by collaborating with NASA Centers, Mission Directorates, government agencies, and private corporations to achieve NASA Education objectives. Metrocavage currently serves as the ISS Operations Manager for the Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining overall situational awareness of the planning and execution of ISS complex operations for SOMD. Metrocavage manages the NASA Headquarters Space Operations Center (HQ SOC), a facility that enables monitoring of human spaceflight operations, and provides input and status to NASA leadership as well as external agencies when appropriate. Additionally, Metrocavage integrates operations support from the HQ SOC for Artemis missions as part of NASA’s return to the moon. He also provides a role in the agency’s focus on mission safety through his function as the Mishap Manager for SOMD and the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. NASA has recognized Metrocavage with multiple individual and team awards, most notably the NASA Spaceflight Awareness Award, which is one of the highest awards, presented to NASA and industry personnel. He is also a 2021 recipient of the Purdue University School of Aeronautics & Astronautics Outstanding Aerospace Engineer award, the school’s highest-level award recognizing alumni who have demonstrated excellence in industry, academia, governmental service or other endeavors.

Maria Nickel

Teacher in Manitoba Canada
Maria Nickel has taken the spirit of Space Camp and has imbedded it in her body, mind and soul since attending Space Camp for Educators in the summer of 2009. During the experience, Maria was the one who everyone relied on for the most basic necessities especially ibuprofen in the sweltering Alabama heat and humidity. She also helped a down fellow camper who hurt his leg on the dance floor by bringing his meals to him rather than trying to navigate the long road between the education building and the Astro-Trek. Since 2009, Maria was the first teacher in Canada to work with Dr. Phil and have an experiment flown to the International Space Station via the SSEP program. As a result of her work with the SSEP program, Maria and her students were invited to meet and discuss their project with Prince Charles (prior to the appointment to King) and his wife, Camilla. Maria was then given one of the highest honors in her division, she received the Prime Ministers National Award Teaching Excellence in 2013. In 2017, Maria was appointed as a Honeywell Ambassador for Space Academy for Educators. She spent an additional week at Space Camp teaching other teachers about STEM education and sharing her passion for space since she left Space Camp for the first time in 2009. Prior and post pandemic, Maria and her students were invited to create a genome for a nano-satellite as part of the Canadian Space Agency IRIS mission. It was again, the first time, in Manitoba that a teacher and her students were sending a student designed genome to space on a satellite. Finally, in June 2023, IRIS launched after three launch delays. Many tears were shed. As the celebrations ended, she was once again contacted by the CSA to have her students create a new genome for a future satellite. Maria’s passion doesn’t end in the classroom — she shares it by writing and creating lessons for the Royal Aviation Museum in Manitoba, leading teacher professional development as well as attending and presenting at conferences such as Space Exploration Educators Conference held each year in Houston. Maria is an out of this world teacher and deserves this recognition. I would also like to say in looking at the Space Camp Hall of Fame mission that Maria embodies this whole heartedly. There also has not been a formal educator in the Hall of Fame (ever I think). This is one teacher who stands out with the likes of Dan Oates, Michelle Lucas and many others. Canada does not have many programs for their students or teachers and Maria has sought out these opportunities.

Eileen Velez

Secretary/CEO of the Department of Transportation and Public Works of Puerto Rico

I have been blessed with a great profession and health, but with great privilege comes the great responsibility of helping others. My technical achievements and contributions to the engineering and aviation industry and my community involvement are the most rewarding experiences in my life because I can share them with family, friends, and colleagues. I am excited to share these with the Space Camp community as well. I will always be grateful for my science teacher that organized the Space Camp trip while I was in the 10th grade in the small town of Sabana Grande. A significant part of my engineering journey and my success in life has been because of Space Camp and I tell my story at every STEM camp and event that I attend as a speaker for children. I remember selling many chocolates as a fundraiser so I could attend Space Camp and my mom and dad also sold “bacalaitos” at the town’s Christmas festival so I could attend Space Camp. My family had limited financial resources, so I learned very early on, the importance of sacrifice and work ethic to achieve my goals. And even though this was before attending Space Camp it was all part of the special experience that got me there!

I truly believe my success as an engineer in the aviation industry began as a Space Camp participant. In 2003, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). During my college years at UPRM, I was selected to participate in the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Advanced Projects Office in the Undergraduate Research Program (USRP) in Huntsville, Alabama. My experience at Space Camp inspired me to apply for a NASA internship. During my time at Marshall, I was selected to extend my research program and I became a NASA Coop Student for two years. During my internship at NASA, I worked on the space elevator concept researching advanced structural materials and construction innovation as well as electromagnetic fields for vehicle launches. Upon graduation, I accepted a research civil engineer position as part of an Academic Excellence Scholar program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

From 2003-06, I was a research civil engineer in the USACE ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, Airfields and Pavements Branch in project management, research and development of pavement management, non-destructive testing, soil stabilization, and rubblization of concrete pavements for the Department of Defense.

In 2006, I changed paths and accepted a position with Kimley-Horn in Florida to work in the design and construction of airport infrastructure. My focus was on constructability and development of airport infrastructure projects to ensure the continued safe and effective operation of the airports during construction. I also served as Operations Manager for the Statewide Airport Pavement Management Program for the Florida Department of Transportation which included 95 public use airports in Florida and I was responsible for the construction cost estimating and fee proposals in state and federal airport funding.

I’ve also published more than 11 technical airfield pavement rehabilitation publications.

In 2014, I relocated to manage the Kimley-Horn Puerto Rico office and during my tenure I grew the office business winning multiple contracts with the PR Ports Authority, the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU), the PR Highway and Transportation Authority, as well as private retail/commercial clients. I’ve managed multi-disciplinary projects ranging from aviation, telecommunications, permitting, structural and site assessments, retail land development and environmental.

In 2017, immediately after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, I led an assessment team for private retail clients to provide emergency structural and site assessments in PR and St Thomas. The projects included building and site structural assessments of more than 2.1 million square feet of commercial area. My team worked under emergency conditions with limited resources such as power, water, fuel, and communications and our work contributed to the PR rebuilding efforts.

In 2020, I was appointed as the first woman to become Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP) of Puerto Rico working in the Governor’s cabinet. I lead DTOP’s historical state and federal funding for the transportation system recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Fiona and lead public policy for the maintenance and rehabilitation of more than 5,000 miles of state roads, the multimodal systems including maritime, rail and buses as well as safety education and driver motor vehicle services in the island with a budget of more than $1.5 Billion.