Who are our Donors?

We asked our major donors to answer a few quick questions about themselves.

Capt. Robert "Hoot" Gibson

The experiences that girls will have from Taking Up Space will certainly put them ahead growing up!

Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson

How would someone describe you?

I’d say that most people would describe me as a devoted fan of aviation in all its forms, with an incurable passion for anything that flies. I have been involved in flying all the way up from model airplanes, through private planes, to jet fighters and flight test, all the way to commanding 4 missions on the Space Shuttle.

What are your favorite activities?

My favorite activities are mostly concerned with aviation pursuits. It wasn’t simply a career; it was a total involvement with flight, and the science of flight as well. I build and fly radio-controlled jet models, and I have learned tremendously about aerodynamics and engineering from this pursuit. Aeronautical Engineering has been another passion of mine. It came about as a direct result of my involvement with aviation and space.

“We need to be providing young girls with role models as well and inspiring them.”

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About Susan

It is such a treat to showcase one of our biggest supporters, Susan Roy.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

I’ve had more proud moments than I ever deserved. I’m probably most proud that my mother and father were present for some of my biggest achievements like college graduation, Test Pilot School graduation, and my Space Shuttle missions, and the fact that they were proud of me.

Tell me about someone who has influenced you?

My father, Paul Gibson was the biggest influence on my life. He was an Aeronautical Engineer and a Test Pilot, and I knew from the time I was 10 years old that I wanted to be like him. That was why I wanted to enter Engineering as well as the U. S. Navy to be a fighter pilot. My dad was the person that taught me how to fly, and I feel like I owe all my success to his teaching and his influence. We need to be providing young girls with role models as well and inspiring them.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I think most people who know me today would be surprised to learn that I was a fairly shy person growing up. It was only after I was put in positions of leadership, and having so many opportunities to speak to crowds of people, that I overcame my shyness. The experiences that girls will have from Taking Up Space will certainly put them ahead growing up!

Why are you supporting Girls Taking Up Space?

I have been proud to contribute to this most worthwhile cause of sparking an interest in science, aviation, and space in young girls, because it is so important to motivate the next generation of women to enter careers in scientific and technical fields. Aviation and space have always been a big inspiration for young people. We need to ensure that this interest is encouraged!

How would someone describe you?

I’m a person who pursues her passions, which often turn into obsessions. I’ve always been obsessed with space travel. I went to U.S. Space Camp in the 1980s, during one of the first sessions offered to adults, and wrote about it for Savvy magazine. I’ve witnessed a Shuttle launch. Five years ago I went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center where I visited Mission Control and sat in Gene Kranz’s chair. That (metaphorically) launched me into my pursuit of all things space, including taking a Zero-G flight.

What are your favorite activities?

Meeting Apollo astronauts and traveling to important space sites, from  Kennedy Space Center to the Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. I’m proud to have stood on the launchpads from where we Earthlings launched the first human into space (Baikonur) and sent the first of our kind to the moon (Pad 39-A at KSC). I’m working on a book about the history of our space program and my experiences.

Girls should be taking up MORE space!

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

Earning my master’s degree in architectural history from Columbia University, and publishing a book based on my thesis about family fallout shelters during the Cold War (“Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack”).

Who has influenced you?

Rusty Schweickart, the Apollo 9 astronaut who got the rare opportunity to spend five minutes outside his spacecraft with no tasks to accomplish. He chose to absorb everything he could, and years later gave a phenomenally touching, inspiring and profound talk about his experience. It’s called “No Frames, No Boundaries” and you can find it at rustyschweickart.com. It’s a beautiful description of the cosmic perspective. The lesson: Keep looking up!

What’s surprising about you?

I’ve spent twenty-five years in New York working as a magazine editor, on a variety of titles (SELF, Avenue, This Old House, Allure, Continental Profiles, and more).

Why are you supporting Girls Taking Up Space?

Girls should be taking up MORE space! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give a young girl an experience which she otherwise would not have. It will expand her perspective and open her eyes to remarkable possibilities. Ideally, it will change her life.

As the Taking Up Space program director, I am personally indebted to Susan. While relocating to San Diego, I was considering putting the program on a short hiatus. Then in June, while celebrating the Apollo 11 anniversary in New York, I was lucky enough to meet Susan Roy. She struck me as a quiet person with a kind smile. We were invited to the University Club for the Apollo 11 luncheon, and it was there where Susan lent me her ear, and did something I never would have expected. I told her I wasn’t going to send the Pascua Yaqui girls to Space Camp in 2019, because I hadn’t yet raised the funds. Without hesitation she said, “I’ll donate.”
I think my jaw dropped. With her help, I could then go to the tribe and ask for matching funding. It was Susan who motivated me, it was Susan who believed in the cause, and it was Susan who helped brush off the dust to get us started. In as little as two months, with the help of individual donations, the PY tribe, Space Hipsters, and Tucson Federal Credit Union, we raised close to $9,000. Unbelievable! I’m still scratching my head at all of this. We leave in a few days, and I couldn’t be more in awe of the overwhelming support. All in thanks to Susan Roy.
Czarina Salido

Are you interested in donating? Click herehttps://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1530675

Meet Mark

We are honored to have Mark Pestana as one of our donors. It’s a privilege to be supported by this outstanding human, and we think you’ll agree.

How would someone describe you?

People have described me as multi-dimensional… using both sides of my brain. I love science and engineering, and the technical aspects of aerospace subjects, having been a pilot and space operations engineer. But I also love being an artist. I have been inspired throughout my life to depict my interpretations of the beauty of the natural world, our planet’s place in the universe, and humanity’s reach for the stars.

What are your favorite activities?

My favorite activities are flying, creating art, hiking and backpacking in the wilderness, and being with my family.

My wife and daughter are scientists, and I wish all girls and women are afforded any opportunities to develop and contribute their intellectual talents in the aerospace field.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

I’m proud of two different aspects of my aerospace career. First, as a US Air Force pilot, I logged over 200 combat reconnaissance missions, collecting vial intelligence which contributed to the fall of communism and the Soviet Union. In contrast, as a NASA space operations engineer, I’m also proud to have served in the development of the International Space Station, working in Russia with our partners in this bold, multi-national experiment.

Who has influenced you?

My influences and inspiration come from caring and supportive parents, teachers, mentors, as well as the great explorers of land, sea, air and space, some of whom I’ve had the honor of meeting and knowing. Knowing Neil Armstrong, among many astronauts and test pilots, is among the greatest influences.

What’s something surprising about you?

When I was 9 years old I was illuminated by the light of a nuclear explosion in space, a test over the Pacific Ocean while on a family vacation in Hawaii. I have flown NASA research aircraft directly through the eye-wall of hurricanes. I climbed the highest mountain in the continental US after artificial hip replacement surgery. Some of my paintings hang in the Pentagon and in the Russian Mission Control Center, Moscow…and my art orbits the Earth, in the form of Space Shuttle mission patches I designed and are displayed on the walls of the International Space Station.

Why are you supporting Girls Taking Up Space?

For too many millennia, women have been marginalized and stereotyped regarding their potential in the STEM subjects. My wife and daughter are scientists, and I wish all girls and women are afforded any opportunities to develop and contribute their intellectual talents in the aerospace field. Attending Space Camp is one of those activities that serves to inspire, motivate, and promote the confidence it takes for girls to pursue these interests.

Are you interested in donating? Click herehttps://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1530675

Who are the Space Hipsters, and Why are They so Unusual?

With over 17,000 members, the Space Hipsters group on Facebook is more than an online forum of space enthusiasts. They’ve extended their reach to bring about real change in the world.

Created in February 2011, by writer and blogger Emily Carney, Space Hipsters “embrace the inner space nerd.” They’ve organized field trips and give-aways, many members are space industry experts – including astronauts and their families, and the Space Hipster logo was spotted aboard the International Space Station!

Last year, the Space Hipsters helped send Native American girls aged 9 -11 to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. The space-inspired American Girl Doll, Luciana Vega, was raffled with all of the proceedings going to fund a Space Camp STEM adventure.

Three girls from the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Tucson, AZ., were supported by the Space Hipsters generous donation.

Are you interested in donating? Click herehttps://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1530675
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