Watch the 2021 President's Briefing
2021 Donor Impact Report
A MESSAGE FROM SPACE CENTER HOUSTON'S PRESIDENT & CEO WILLIAM T. HARRIS
It goes without saying that 2021 was one of our most challenging years as we continued to creatively fulfill our mission and adapt to life during a pandemic. The generosity of individuals, foundations, corporate partners, and volunteers enabled us to achieve new heights in our service to our community, and constituents across the nation and around the world.
As a nonprofit educational institution, Space Center Houston depends on philanthropic donations to enhance and expand our hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational programming. We inspire guests of all ages by creating thought-provoking, innovative exhibits that explore the past, present, and future of human spaceflight and programming that features some of the nation’s leading aerospace professionals and NASA astronauts, like SpaceX Crew-4 Commander Kjell Lindgren. We also encourage guests to experience the thrill and wonders of space exploration by providing behind-the-scenes access to NASA Johnson Space Center’s facilities and experts.
As you peruse through some of Space Center Houston’s highlights from 2021, I ask you to pause and celebrate the impact made possible through your generosity. From helping us to inspire the community and shape students’ futures by bringing space exploration to the classroom, you made 2021 an unforgettable year.
During 2022, many new milestones in space exploration will take place as we prepare to establish a long-term presence on the Moon’s south pole. I invite you to join us in what will be an exciting year that includes the full activation of the James Webb Space Telescope, the launch of the Artemis 1 mission to the moon, and much more!
William T. Harris President and CEO
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Innovative Responses Fuel Innovation
From Apollo 13 to the next Mars Rover, NASA and Space Center Houston are no strangers to innovating under pressure. The struggles we have all faced since 2020 have forced us to adapt in ways we never imagined. In 2021, Space Center Houston persevered again with the launch of a completely redesigned Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) experience.
In February, for the first time in its 27-year history, Space Center Houston hosted SEEC on a 100 percent virtual platform, generously funded by Intel. Through the three-day virtual professional development conference themed “Perseverance Through Innovation,” our education staff supported 1,058 K-12 educators from 27 countries and 46 states.
With their registration, participants received year-long on-demand access to the conference’s content, which included 109 virtual learning sessions led by STEM and education experts, various networking lounges, and access to restricted field experiences like an on-site tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center in California.
In 2022, Space Center Houston leveraged the success of SEEC’s virtual platform by hosting the event as a hybrid – virtual and on-site – conference.
SPACE EXPLORATION EDUCATORS CONFERENCE (SEEC)
- Supported 1,058 K-12 educators with year-long,
on-demand access to 109 sessions, presentations,
virtual field experiences and networking activities
- Supported 441 educators with tuition scholarships
thanks to support from:
• The Albert & Ethel Herzstein Foundation
• Tranquility Foundation
Shaping the Future, Now
With combined backgrounds in chemical engineering and biochemistry, Syamal and Susmita Poddar know the value of a quality education. Locals to the Houston area, the Poddars began visiting Space Center Houston — and bringing their friends and family — as soon as the center opened its doors in 1992.
When their grandson expressed an interest in attending STEM camps over the summer, the Poddars knew where to connect him to get hands-on, authentic space and science learning experiences. They enrolled their grandson in Space Center U®, a week-long immersive program that promotes teamwork, problem solving, communication, and innovative engineering solutions all through the lens of space exploration.
“When we saw him after a long day, camp was all he could talk about. We were very interested and intrigued,” says Syamal. Their grandson’s enthusiasm prompted them to the realization that if they wanted to encourage students to join the STEM pathway, “this is the way to get kids involved in space!”
The Poddars are loyal Patron members and founding members of Space Center Houston’s recently launched Innovation Circle, a group of visionary community leaders dedicated to expanding student access to authentic and transformative STEM learning experiences. The Poddars truly make a difference; they invest in Space Center Houston’s educational mission to inspire the next generation of STEM learners and professionals.
Creating Space for Everyone
Space Center Houston’s annual fund campaign, Creating Space for Everyone, raised much-needed financial resources that provide students with access to potentially life-changing opportunities.
With the goal of supporting underresourced and underrepresented students in the Houston area and beyond, funds from the annual campaign are allocated to those who would not otherwise be able to participate in our education program’s innovative and immersive STEM learning opportunities.
In July, we received a huge boost to these efforts when Space Center Houston was selected to receive a $1 million grant from Club for the Future, founded by Blue Origin.
This landmark award comes directly from history-making advancements in the space industry; Blue Origin raised the funds through an online auction for the very first seat on its New Shepard reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Space Center Houston will use Club for the Future funding to reach more students and provide real-world, hands-on STEM learning opportunities that amplify the wonders of space exploration.
Founded by Blue Origin in 2019, Club for the Future is a perfect match for Space Center Houston’s vision to prepare the next generation of scientists, innovators and problem-solvers as its mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space.
Bringing Space to the Classroom
Over the last decade, Chevron has positioned itself as a leading supporter of STEM programs at Space Center Houston and an important partner in the space and science learning center’s strategic goal of engaging the public in authentic STEM learning.
Working together throughout 2020 and 2021, we conceived, developed, and launched “STEM Innovation in Schools, presented by Chevron.” Targeting underresourced youth in the Greater Houston area, this new educational outreach initiative enhances students' access to high-quality, real-world STEM learning experiences.
The new program supports teachers in Title 1 schools as they guide their classes through a semester-long NASA-style challenge that is designed to enhance their students’ innovating, developing, testing, and prototyping skills.
Participating students work in teams of up to six group members. Over the course of the semester, each team proposes a solution to a real-world NASA challenge. For the inaugural spring challenge, 40 teams of students submitted uniquely designed systems or inventions intended to keep astronauts healthy during a long-duration spaceflight. As a capstone to their efforts, STEM Innovation in Schools participants were invited to an awards ceremony on-site at Space Center Houston. Here, eight teams showcased their projects, 20 participants received individual awards, and the entire group explored the 250,000 square foot space and science learning center.
STEM INNOVATION IN SCHOOLS, PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
- Partnered with 20 Greater Houston area schools to
serve 3,052 K-12 students
- Provided 52 educators with 48 project-supporting
webinars, including virtual sessions
Engaging the Next Generation of STEM Leaders
In March, Space Center Houston recognized Boeing as our most loyal supporter by unveiling new signage on our award-winning Independence Plaza exhibit. The new signage, “Independence Plaza, presented by Boeing” pays homage to the aerospace leader for its philanthropic support totaling more than $2 million since our opening in 1992.
Boeing’s steadfast support of students and educators over the past 29 years has been critical to our ability to empower the next generation of explorers and STEM career professionals. Their most recent grant supports Girls STEM Pathway, presented by Boeing.
Girls STEM Pathway is a six-phase longitudinal STEM programming network offering out-of-classroom experiences to sustain student interest in STEM as they navigate through elementary, middle and high school. A major strength of Girls STEM Pathway is the access students receive to professional women in STEM, who serve as mentors and role models as girls develop their career aspirations.
Space Center Houston is incredibly fortunate to be a partner with Boeing in our work to engage the next generation of STEM leaders. In 2021, 841 girls participated in Girls STEM Pathway. Since its inception, Boeing has empowered more than 5,000 through Girls STEM Pathway and Academy programming.
GIRLS STEM PATHWAY, PRESENTED BY BOEING
- Introduced 516 elementary age girls to STEM careers
- Engaged 246 middle-school age girls in hands-on
- Supported 34 high-school age girls with a high-level
virtual research program
- Paired 44 girls with 19 industry professional female
Furthering Girls Confidence in STEM
Despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM careers. The largest gender gaps appear in some of the fastestgrowing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering. To fulfill the growing need for a diverse STEM workforce, Space Center Houston formed a strategic partnership with the international She Is Foundation and Institución Zoraida Cadavid de Sierra to provide female students ages 11-16 years old with handson learning experiences covering rocketry, space habitats, landers, and NASA’s five hazards of living in space.
Thanks to significant support from the She Is Foundation and a generous grant from GOYA, Space Center Houston launched its inaugural Space Center U® Beyond virtual program in fall 2020 with a cohort of 31 female students from Colombia.
Space Center U® Beyond grew dramatically throughout 2021 in both attendance and the number of available lessons. The program, now available in a hybrid, online and on-site format, spans over a period of six-months and features a visit to Space Center Houston and NASA Johnson Space Center. In 2021, 191 girls benefited from participation in Space Center U® Beyond.
SPACE CENTER U® BEYOND
- Provided six core-skill webinars to 191 international
female students ages 11-16 years old in 2021
- Bilingual instructor/facilitator support
- Features on-site visit to Space Center Houston and
NASA Johnson Space Center
Inspiring the Philanthropic Community
Space Center Houston initiated a new series of local philanthropic events in 2021. Board Chair Peggy Kostial and board member Dhaval Jadav each hosted salon-style gatherings to kick off the initiative.
The events welcomed new and old friends to learn about our nearly 30-year strong nonprofit educational mission and the partners who help us inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, thinkers and problem-solvers.
The 2021 events featured guest speakers Dr. Kjell Lindgren, who is currently in training to fly the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the ISS scheduled to launch in 2022, and Dr. Rob Ambrose, a recently retired NASA space robotics expert. Each shared witty, conversational banter with Space Center Houston President and CEO William T. Harris at their respective events. After the speaker presentations, attendees took the opportunity to ask their own questions one-on-one and pose for photos with friends and the featured presenters.
As the first of the new board leadership series, events like these are especially meaningful to our organization as they help us engage the surrounding philanthropic community in NASA’s next “big thing,” with the goal to garner continued support for Space Center Houston’s youth STEM educational programs.
2021 Honor Roll of Donors
The 2021 Honor Roll of Donors recognizes supporters who have made gifts totaling $50 or more between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dev. 31, 2021. We proudly recognize members of our Discovery Circle, whose membership includes a philanthropic gift to Space Center Houston. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of names and data. Please bring any errors or omissions to our attention at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mallory Rogers at +1-281-283-7710.
$1,000,000 and above
$50,000 - $99,999
$25,000 - $49,999
$10,000 - $24,999
$5,000 - $9,999
Gracie and Bob Cavnar
Susie and Pat Cunningham
Gwen Griffin and Al Saylor
William T. Harris
Harvin C. Moore
NASA Alumni League JSC
Philip T. Pegues Irrevocable Trust
Bud and Maryjane Scherr
$2,500 - $4,999
Karen and Rich Jackson
John and Tracey Lustyan
Syamal and Susmita Poddar
Kim and Dan Tutcher
$1,000 - $2,499
Betsy and Fred Griffin
Joy and Don Kelly
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Coleman and Erin McCord
Keith and Alice Mosing
Linda C. Murray
Mutual of America
Texas Society Daughters of the
American Revolution (TXDAR)
Tranquility Lodge 2000
Kim and Robert Adden
John G. Ball
Gary Brandt and Shelley Macy
Kathleen and Mike Buckland
Susan and Marc DeChellis
Olivia Cislo and Andres Arroyo
Richard W. Cucco
Melinda A. Dodd
Austin Ewing and Vinny Zahorik
Mary and Lou Falk
Diana Flanders and Luis Medina
Pete and Annette Hasbrook
Cameron and Jill Jensen
Sam and Lisa Kemp
Jeffrey and Ilda King
Shirley Knobler and Ron Aryel
Leslie and Jery Mariani
Penny and Dennis Murphree
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution - Sam Houston (NSDAR)
James F. Nelson
Pilar Parducci and Tony Richmond
Shell HERO Program
James R. Tilley
Joel B. Walker
Vivian and Bill Wied
Dusty and Kirk Wilson
J. T. Wiser
Patron level members
Anne and Roger Box
Natalie and Mike Brady
Eva and Bob Chiang
Michelle and Kevin Corley
Ed and Genith Crawford
Ann and Bill Davidson
Janice and Patrick Eads
Kathleen and Denny Holt
Laura and Lee Hutchinson
Joy and Don Kelly
Irene Hickey and Lindsey Kroll
Joan and Mario Marchelli
Chris and Careisse Mathews
Kelly and Don McClelland
Naomi and Scott Miller
Kelly and Stu Obkirchner
Steven Rau and Chris Foote
Tracy and Mike Scott
Kathi and Wayne Shaw
Nicole and James Smith
Tara and Harvey Stotland
Kelly and Ben Vaughn
Vivian and Bill Wied
Gail and Andrew Zitterkopf
Contributor level members
Terry and David Brownhill
Kathleen and Mike Buckland
Sharon and Joseph Carter
Rosalinda and Joseph Curtin
Michelle and David Fanelli
Bridgette and John Goss
Christina and John Kearns
Melissa and Brian Kirkland
Mary and Frank Korona
Claire and Mark Mead
Richelle and Harold Rucker
Tracy and Tyler Scott
Jacqueline Payne and Shawn Traylor
Marilyn and Gary Wallace
Virginia Seale Watt
Ruth and James Whiddon
Supporter level members
Mikako and Keiji Aoki
LaShanda and Montague Beamon
Anne and Bill Bella
Emma and Pete Brawn
Diane and Michael Burress
Marybel Cordero and Carlos Cabarcas
Cheryl and Steve Combs
Tammy and Kevin Cook
Manjula and Lohit Datta-Barua
Hope and Thomas DeNicola
Dafne and Jose Diaz
Stephanie Vogt and Robert Dotson
Tamara and Jean-Christophe Dupont
Michele and Michael Echeandia
Luz and Nicolas Garcia
Linda and Spencer Gardner
Veronica and Hiram Gonzalez
Tronie and Garnet Gunn
Amanda and Steven Gyeszly
Stephanie and Sam Hamm
Rhonda and William Holt
Teresa Kenon and Pierre Bang
Kara and John Kraft
Phi-Nga Jeannie Le
Linda and Raymond Luna
Patricia and Robert Lunn
Gayle and Stewart McAdoo
Susan and Mike McCoy
Denise and Keith McIntosh
Sharrell and Larry McKennie
Carol and James Moe
Jacqueline and Christopher Muncy
Shannon and Reginald Newkirk
Kelly and Michael Parmet
Judith and Richard Perkins
Adrienne and John Ropp
Raffaella Righetti and Eric Sabonghy
Veronica Vielma and Juan Pablo Sandino
John Scott and Peter Weeks
Judy and Larry Shaefer
Darlene and John Suarez
Nicholas J. Sucic
Carl and Pam Walz
Alan and Joanna Thielmann
Sandra and Julian Zapp
City of Webster
University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)
Join Space Center Houston's community of contributors and help us continue growing the number of learners who enter the STEM pathway! Every gift is tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.