Current Graduate Students


James Alver

JAMES ALVER is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from Harvard College in 2015, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Earth and Planetary Sciences. James has experience in space policy through work at the National Academy of Sciences, the Aerospace Industries Association, and International Technology and Trade Associates, where he has participated in projects related to CubeSat policy, Earth observations, national security space, space technology, and other topics. His primary policy interests relate to non-government activity beyond Earth orbit and the role of governments in regulating and enabling such activities.

Aimee Barreto

AIMEE BARRETO is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree at the Space Policy Institute. Most recently, Aimee managed the government contractor workforce in the Code 541 Materials Engineering Division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD. She has held diverse positions in Task Management, Business Development, Procurement, Quality Assurance and Human Resources Management working for various government contractors supporting NASA GSFC. Aimee holds a Master of Science in Government Contracts from The George Washington University, Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University and Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Syracuse University. Her interests include financial management, U.S. space policy, project management, and technology transfer/export control issues. Her research interests are focused on trending topics: civil and commercial space partnerships, military space weapons, and international space competitiveness.

Chris Beauregard

 CHRIS BEAUREGARD is a second-year graduate student with a concentration in space policy and commercial activity. In 2017, he served as a program management intern at the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, a visiting scholar at the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna, Austria, staff assistant at the Space Policy Institute. He is also active in the Space Generation Advisory Council, where he was selected as communications coordinator for the 2017 Space Generation Congress and conference lead for SGx2018. Chris currently supports United Launch Alliance’s Washington Operations team as a government affairs intern and is assisting GW’s Micropropulsion and Nanotechnology Lab with regulatory compliance for the launch of the University’s first satellite, GW-Sat.

Jake Cooper

JAKE COOPER is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. Jake recently graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Humboldt State University in Northern California, where he studied space policy, space exploration, and diplomacy. During Jake’s final semester he interned at the local office of a California State Senator, a role in which he focused on a range of constituent affairs. Jake’s research and policy interests include space exploration, resource extraction, development, and diplomacy.


Drew Garza

DREW GARZA is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master's degree at the Space Policy Institute.  He is a combat veteran with ten years of active duty with the US Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as multiple tours around the world for disaster relief and mission support.  He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Space Studies from American Military University.  In his time at GWU, he hopes to focus his studies on international cooperative space policies that support US defense and national security strategies.  Drew currently works as a Program Manager for the Department of Defense, and he is also very active as a STEM advocate and volunteer, contributing time and expertise to the groups like the Planetary Society and Explore Mars, as well as providing community outreach efforts for the US Science and Engineering Festival.


BRISTOL GUNDERSON is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. She received her bachelor's degree in History and Russian Language & Literature from Wellesley College near Boston, MA. Following her graduation in 2016, she interned at Blue Origin in Washington DC. Bristol is interested in supporting science and space through policy and business development. She is interested in the intersections of science, society, and history. 



TARA HALT is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Space Operations and minors in Human Factors and Astronomy. She has previously interned at NewSpace Global, the FAA Office of Commercial Space, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. She currently works for Bryce Space and Technology as an Aerospace Analyst.


Natalie Kauppi

NATALIE KAUPPI is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. During her undergraduate experience, she spent a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science and graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in International Relations and Comparative Politics. After four years in New York City, she decided to pursue her interest in space exploration and military technology. She hopes to contribute to military policy and the role of space in international relations and currently works at RAND.


Cody KnipferCODY KNIPFER is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from McDaniel College in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs, where he focused on Asia-Pacific affairs and on the domestic and international politics of space. He has experience working with several aerospace trade associations, including the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and Aerospace Industries Association, and at a space and technology policy consultancy. Cody has also volunteered with a number of space non-profits, such as the Space Frontier Foundation and the Space Generation Advisory Council. His research and policy interests include public-private partnerships in the space industry, the evolution of national security space applications, and the use of space activities as an element of geopolitical strategy. 

Displaying Linck_headshot.jpgEVAN LINCK is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated with honors from Yale University in 2016 with a B.S. in physics. Evan’s academic interests center on the intersection of science, public policy, education, and international affairs. In undergraduate, he wrote his senior thesis on cosmology using gravitational lensing in galaxy clusters and conducted additional research in high-energy particle physics and dark matter. Beyond physics, Evan has also pursued Chinese language study, studying Mandarin in both Taipei, Taiwan and Beijing, China. Prior to starting at the George Washington University, Evan taught physical sciences to elementary and middle school students at Astrocamp in Idyllwild, CA. He has previously worked with the National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board as a policy intern.

Christopher MayCHRISTOPHER MAY is a first year graduate student pursuing a master's degree at the Space Policy Institute. Previously he graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering where he also obtained a minor in International Affairs and during his master's concentrated in Systems Engineering. Chris currently works at The Aerospace Corp. where he has contributed to projects for NASA, the Air Force, and other aerospace related customers. Throughout his life Chris has been interested in the intersection of science, history, and policy-making. His primary policy interests lay in human spaceflight, especially regarding international cooperation to pursue further solar system exploration.


CREEL O'NEIL is a first year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from Miami of Ohio in 2009 with dual BAs in Political Science and Music. Creel then spent 4 years in the Army supporting special operations elements through multiple tours in Afghanistan. Afterward, he held a number of positions in support of the Department of Defense and US space policy issues. Creel intends to focus his studies on space and nuclear security policy.



JOHN ROWLEY is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated with honors with a B.S. in Economics from the University of Mary Washington. In the spring of 2016, John presented his research on NASA funding at the Economic Scholars Program Undergraduate Research Conference in Dallas, TX. Upon graduation, he was presented the Henry W. Hewetson Award for outstanding graduating economics major. He is interested in the commercialization and funding of space programs. 



SAM SR is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master's degree in International Science and Technology Policy at The Elliott School, where he also serves as Staff Assistant at SPI. Sam received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology from Carnegie Mellon University and intends to use his technical background to develop ways of helping public policy experts and engineers communicate more effectively. During his time as an undergraduate, Sam attended the University of California's DC campus, where he worked for Congressman Jerrold Nadler in his Capitol Hill office as a legislative intern. He has also previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal intake intern.

BENJAMIN SPROULE is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated with honors from Washington College in 2015 with a B.A, in History and minor in Political Science. Ben wrote his undergraduate thesis on the history of the Soviet space program, with regard to its cultural effects on the Soviet people.  His academic interests include international cooperation in space and space situational awareness. Currently, Ben works as an intern for the NASA Office of International and Interagency Relations. Outside of SPI, Ben studied French at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France, and has worked as a legislative intern for the English Parliament.  

 GENTOKU TOYAMA  is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. He graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Oriental Studies. He worked for the Japanese Ministry of Defense and was involved in Defense Operation Coordination with the Okinawa Government and also with Earthquake Disaster. Currently, he works for the Defense Policy Division and response to North Korea’s provocative actions. He is interested in the U.S. space policy and Japan-U.S. alliance



TAKUYA WAKIMOTO is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. His undergraduate degree, awarded by Kwansei Gakuin University (Japan), was in International Development, where he gained exposure to international affairs, politics, economics, and technology. He then worked in the aero-engine division at IHI Corporation to learn how defense policies affect the manufacturer. After four years of professional experience, he is now focusing his studies on space, security and defense policy.


AnnaANNA WIEGER is a first-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. Her interests lie in how present international space policy will shape future settlements in outer space. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Biola University where she was enrolled at the Torrey Honors Institute. She received her B.S. in Studio Arts and a Minor in Mathematics. Anna grew up in Turkey where her interest in the future impact of international policies was kindled by the way that old treaties still impact Turkey’s politics. Anna spent two years as an AmeriCorps member working in disaster relief and preparedness at the American Red Cross in Oakland, CA. She continues to volunteer at the Red Cross.


CLAIRE WILHELM Claire Wilhelm is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. She received a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from George Washington University in 2014. During her time as an undergraduate at GW, she interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. There, she worked with the team responsible for the integration and testing of the onboard propulsion system of the Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft. After completing her undergraduate work, Claire worked in various academic and government positions. She currently works at DARPA, supporting the Tactical Technology Office.

Josh Wolny JOSH WOLNY is a second-year graduate student at the Space Policy Institute. Prior to studying at George Washington, Josh was an 8th-grade science teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. In the process of educating his students, Josh found that the coming decades are shaping up to be a very exciting time in space, and he wanted to be involved. Combining his bachelor's degree in International Relations, his experience translating difficult scientific concepts into understandable chunks, and other work experience, Josh currently works as the DC Office Assistant at Secure World Foundation. SWF is an organization seeking to promote cooperative solutions to space sustainability by engaging with various actors in the space domain in DC, Colorado, and across the world.