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Tag: Alumni Board

Welcome to our new Incoming 2020 Space Camp Alumni Board Members

As we ring in the new year, it is also a time of celebration and change for the Space Camp Alumni Association Board. Each year in September and October, a search is started to fill any open seats on the SCAA Board. This year, there were five vacant seats that were to be filled for 2020, as well as a new incoming Hall of Fame Representative member. Board members serve a three year term and a different set of board members rotates off the board each year.

This year, we also welcome board member Christopher Key as the new Space Camp Alumni Association Board Chair, Dr. Gretchen Green as Co-Chair, and Dr. Andrea Hanson as Chair Emeritus. They will serve in those positions for two years after having previously been regular board members. We wholeheartedly thank Ben Chandler, previous Chair Emeritus, Chair, and board member for his many years of service as a part of the Space Camp Alumni Association.

In regular board seats, the Space Camp Alumni Association welcomes one new Hall of Fame Representative and five board members.


Lieutenant Colonel Hecker, is a native of New Orleans, La., and graduated from Randolph High School in Huntsville, Ala.. He attended Auburn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications in 1997. He worked in the television industry for five years and joined the Marine Corps shortly after September 11, 2001. John’s military career includes 16 years of active duty service and 3 years as a reservist with stints in Florida, Arkansas, North Carolina, Okinawa, and New York, flying the T-34, T-44, C-130 E, KC-130 F, R, T, and J model aircraft. One of the many highlights of John’s career included being selected to the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS), U.S. Navy “Blue Angels,” to pilot “Fat Albert” and showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel Hecker was inducted into the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Space Camp Hall of Fame in 2017 and currently serves as the Hall of Fame Executive Director. 

Vinay Gidwaney, is a serial entrepreneur who has started two successful technology companies in the IT management and insuretech industries. Previously, he was a neuroscience researcher at the MIT Media Lab. Vinay also sits on the board of the education non-profit, Design for Change USA. Vinay lives in Boston, with his wife, Sanjli and his three children. 

Joyce Hirai, is an alumna of the Advanced Space Academy program (1999 & 2000) and former Aviation Challenge Crew Trainer (2007 & 2008). Joyce served on Active Duty Air Force for 11 years as a Meteorologist and lived all over the world in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. She is now an Air Force Reservist as a Flight Meteorologist for the Hurricane Hunters. Joyce earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Meteorology from Embry-Riddler Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona and a Masters of Science degree in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. She now resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Patrick, 3 dogs (Atlas, Marshall and Astra) and cat (Schrodinger).

Samantha Johnson, is a public library director in the Chicago suburbs with over fifteen years of experience in libraries who completed her Master’s of Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013. She attended Space Camp in August of 2000 and has not stopped bragging since. In addition to her work, she is an active member of the Illinois Library Association and a proud Rotarian who believes wholeheartedly in its motto, Service Above Self. 

David Hernly, is the CEO of Mythric Studios. He first became interested in simulations during his time at Space Camp. He lives in Newport News, Virginia with his family.

Josh Warren, is a Managing Director at BlackRock. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and NYU Law School and attended Space Camp in 1991. He lives with his family in New York.

It is shaping up to be a productive year for the Space Camp Alumni Association as we go into the new year with a fully staffed board with 16 members. In 2020, the Space Camp Alumni Association Board is also looking forward to an exciting announcement of Space Camp Alumni Chapters. With the support of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Education Foundation, the Space Camp Alumni Association is launching chapters in cities across the United States to allow alumni to network and enjoy activities together. This will serve as a connection point in their local regions and be an exciting new additional to the association. Individuals that are interested in starting an Alumni Chapter in a region that does not currently have a chapter may contact the Alumni Representative ([email protected]) for more information.