About Us

About the Illinois Space Society


The Illinois Space Society (ISS) was founded at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in September 2003 by Kirk Kittell and Derek Meyers. ISS was created to develop a network of students and members who are interested in space exploration and development. The purposes of the Illinois Space Society are to:

  • Create a network of space supporters in the Champaign-Urbana area
  • To serve the community through educational outreach
  • To provide supporters with resources that will assist them in following their dreams in the field of space exploration

The Illinois Space Society provides its members with a variety of technical, professional, and educational outreach opportunities. This semester, ISS offers the following technical projects. You can find them under the projects tab:

  • NASA Student Launch Initiative
  • Hybrid Rocket Engine
  • NASA Midwest Space Grant High-Powered Rocketry Competition
  • NASA Micro-g NExT
  • Pilot Projects

The Illinois Space Society Executive Board


Brian Hardy






Brian Hardy is a senior majoring in aerospace engineering and pursuing a minor in Spanish. Originally from Springfield, Illinois, Brian has been a member of the Illinois Space Society for the past three years and has participated in ISS project teams for RASC-AL, NASA Student Launch, Hybrid Rocket Engine, and Pilot Projects. His interests include launch systems and spacecraft controls, and this past semester he was the undergraduate student lead in a joint CU Aerospace-UIUC group researching modular satellite system design. Brian is also an avid traveler, and in the spring of 2016 he spent six months studying abroad in Valencia, Spain. Outside of class, he enjoys reading, backpacking, debating movies, and expanding his ever-growing collection of Legos.

Email: bphardy2@illinois.edu

Sarath Panicker

Assistant Director






Sarath is a senior majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Business. He's interned at CenturyLink in Louisiana and United Airlines in Chicago, in which in the latter using his travel benefits, was able to visit San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, and London...twice, to name a few. In the past, he was the EC Representative and the Treasurer. In the near future, he hopes to pursue an opportunity to study aboard or work abroad in Europe or Asia. In his free time, he enjoys playing FIFA, watching hockey and playing the drums.

Email: spanick2@illinois.edu

Connor Latham

Technical Project Director





Connor Latham is a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in computer science. Last year he was the Illinois Space Society’s Space Grant team lead.  As a part of the Space Grant team, he was working on a toggleable active drag system for a high power rocket in order to slow its ascent. His other activities include ultimate frisbee, building drones, and watching Black Mirror.

Email: connorl2@illinois.edu

Megan Geyer






Megan Geyer is a Junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering with pursuing a minor in Atmospheric Science. Last year she participated in Illinois Space Society's Micro-G competition and the Women in Aerospace Space Grant competition. In addition to ISS, Megan is also a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, CHAARG, and the Illini Strings orchestra. In her free time Megan enjoys working out, cooking, binge watching shows on Netflix, playing the violin, and hanging out at the dog park with her Collie Mila.

Email: mcgeyer2@illinois.edu

Elena Kamis

Educational Outreach Director





Elena Kamis is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering and pursuing a minor in Atmospheric Sciences.  It is her second year on the ISS exec board and her first year as Education Outreach Director. Among other things, last year Elena was involved with the ISS Space Grant team and Pilot Projects. She is also a member of the women's engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon. In her free time, Elena enjoys watching Criminal Minds, going to the gym, and scrolling Facebook obsessively.

Email: ekamis2@illinois.edu

Christine Mehr

Social Director





Christine is a Junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering and pursuing a minor in Business. She was the Assistant Director last year and Engineering Council Representative the year before that. Last year she was the team lead of the Hybrid Rocket Engine, a team member of the WIA Space Grant team and an active Kappa Kappa Gamma member. Aside from mysteriously combusting due to the unbearable summer heat, or learning the true meaning of frost bite in the winter, she enjoys normally weathered days along with reading autobiographies.

Email: cmehr2@illinois.edu

Sara Legg

Administrative Director





Sara Legg is a junior majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in technology and management. Last year Sara was the Administrative Director and before that, SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) representative for the Illinois Space Society. Last year she was the project manager for the NASA Micro-g NExT project. She was a part of the ISS NASA Student Launch's Structure and Recovery team and the WIA Space Grant team. Over the summer, Sara interned at Northrop Grumman in the Infrared Countermeasures division. The summer before that, she interned GE Aviation in Rockford, IL working in the mechanical engineering design team. In her free time Sara loves to learn new languages. She is fluent in Spanish and currently learning Chinese.

Email: legg2@illinois.edu

Shivani Ganesh

SEDS Representative

Shivani Ganesh, a freshman in aerospace engineering, knew Illinois was the perfect fit since attending both the GAMES Aerospace Camp and SWE's Little Sister's Weekend in high school. Upon arriving unto campus, she became the ISS SEDS Representative, as well as the Tech Manager for the NASA Space Grant team. Outside of ISS, Shivani loves geeking out about superheroes, and (being a dancer for 14 years) dancing in the most random of situations, and hiking in national parks. With a level of enthusiasm only possessed by an individual that has not reached TAM, Shivani is extremely excited for the road ahead.

Email: ssg3@illinois.edu

Avery Moore

AEUAB Representative

Avery is a freshman in aerospace engineering and is minoring in French. She is currently the structures team lead for the Space Grant Competition of 2017-2018.  This summer, Avery is excited to be interning with GE Aviation. She is also a member of the University of Illinois rock climbing club on campus and loves spending her time outdoors.  When she isn't outside climbing something, Avery spends her times playing guitar or hanging out with her dogs.

Email: averykm2@illinois.edu

Jason Gong

Engineering Council Representative

Jason is a freshmen pursing a bachelors of science in computer engineering. Currently, he is the Engineering Council representative for ISS. In the past, Jason has interned at Dynomax, where he revised product routings and prepared engineering drawings to ensure adherence to specifications. Outside of ISS, Jason enjoys playing chess, going to the gym, trading cryptocurrencies, playing tennis, and browsing reddit. In the future, he hopes to study abroad in Europe and create his own cryptocurrency.

Email: xg8@illinois.edu