Where is Pomona anyway?

And how would you explain that summer in the first place? Yes, I know, not at all, but let's try with Philomena's speech. Thanks go to her!
Valedictorian Address - Friday, August 30

Guests: Good evening Juan de Dalmau, Karl Doetsch, Walter Peeters, Peter Diamandis, Dr. Bob Suzuki, Mr. Richard Searfoss, Andrew Aldrin, Jim and Lin Burke, faculty, staff, visitors, alumni, teaching assistants, Summer Session Program class of 2002 Pomona California... where is Pomona anyway?

Summer Session Program 2002 is a palindrome which makes our class rather unique. It is the same number forwards as it is backwards and this won't happen again until the year 2112 which is in 110 years from now. We are unique. The last palindrome year was when? (1991 and) I was 28... about the average age of many of the ISU participants. It was the same year that ISU was in Toulouse, France. Yet we are unique: SSP 2002.

This evening I would like to do what Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell did when she gave her core lecture on astronomy. She didn't use a lot of power point slides, or music or special effects. She used the most amazing audiovisual tool we have... the human mind. I hope that each one of you will find a picture, a thought, an idea, a special feeling in what I say tonight.

First think of how you got to ISU. All of you have stories to tell. Samantha didn't know she was coming until a week before the program and Isabelle waited 15 years to come to the International Space University. I think it was nothing short of a miracle of how I got to ISU. Some of you made big sacrifices financially to be here; you had to pay your full way, some of you received part or full scholarships... my dentist gave me money, even the sandwich lady at school contributed. But somehow we all arrived here in Pomona back in June... it seems just like yesterday... where is Pomona anyway?

We arrived in beautiful, sunny California, lining up or queuing up, core lectures, 50 bronco bucks, picture taking, Los Olivos, more picture taking... we're here. Just when we thought we finally knew everyone's name we welcomed new students into the ISU family: David, Armena, Nelson and Olufemi arrived on the picturesque campus of Cal Poly.

99 students at the International Space University, core complete... and we're off... the pace was frenetic, running from lectures to activities to the village and back to the distinguished lecture series... every night a new thing. We had meetings in between lectures, we had meetings during meals, we had meetings in the rest room, we dreamt about meetings. We had to choose between meetings. And all the while life went on at home. We experienced California... the tastes, the touch, the smells, the sights, the sounds.

What do you remember?

The taste of real sushi, the salt water, barbecues, all you can eat ice cream at Los Olivos. Our schedule was run by food: the only consistent thing. It became a challenge to get away from Los Olivos - cashing out so you could have clam chowder in San Francisco. Arisa said she loves Los Olivos... usually she would have one bowl of rice at home... here she would have three. I am very thankful for Los Olivos and the staff (Arnold Zavalza, Theresa, Carol, Pei Han, Aki - they were great); I am a wife and a mother and I have not had to cook a meal for two months.

What do you remember? The temperature in the desert, thoughts of scorpions and snakes crawling on your skin, sleeping outdoors in Sequoia, under the stars at Big Bear and Mt. Wilson, the great weather, it never rains in California, right Marc!

The smells: this is an agricultural college. Sheep, cows, horses, the rooster in the French culture night. The smells of living with each other, the stale air in the computer room....

The sights: colours, culture nights, looking at the exam, looking at the calendar for Irish St Patrick's day every 17th of the month, the sight of the small bus when you were expecting a real shuttle, Gary and Oliver forever in black, Talmon and Femi the men in black, Tonje and Lin the women in black, the black computer room with LaTeX guru Aaron sitting at the front on the right hand side. Jim and Lin Burke's house, which is a beautiful home and haven for many of ISU, because of who they are to all of us.

What would you like to forget? The sound of the trains, squishing snails late at night on the sidewalk, the sound of sprinklers coming on and the shrieks of people trying to get out of the way, noisy children and huge orientation groups fighting for food in the cafeteria, the incessant tapping of the computer keyboard.

Then there were the Design Projects. Thank you Lloyd for the amazing experience of concurrent design in the case study. Astrobiology "We are not alone", HiStar looked at people as more than statistics. One topic way out beyond ourselves looking for life the size of a mosquito when the other design project was looking to eradicate the mosquito. Yes, DP 2, you made a mistake yesterday with bill 48... you forgot that a DP 1'er would have the last word! In Astrobiology - A Source Book astrobiology is merely the exciting vehicle for the extremely important discipline of science and technology. Without DP 1 and our strong foundation of history, research, missions and education DP 2 would not have the science or technology to exist. 95% of North America would stay scientifically illiterate and be incapable of even understanding Hi Star without projects that promote science and technology from a Space perspective like Astrobiology. I raise a glass of... apple juice to DP 1... oh, there is a DP2 fly in my juice... oh well, I guess we can co-exist... (drink the apple juice)

I am thankful that ISU wants to address problems with the program so it can improve. I encourage everyone to take seriously your feed back sheets, send other ideas to ISU so it can use it as an instrument of change. I think that students should be invited to the faculty lessons learned and the weekly staff meetings, there should be a student representative from the beginning who represents our concerns and allows for more communication sooner in the program rather than later. Communication - that is one problem at ISU. It is a constant challenge to communicate well with so many people from so many places with so many agendas. An ISU staff member dedicated in part to counseling and inter-personal relations would be a suggestion I have. Someone to talk to students that is impartial and has the time to listen to home problems, family problems, relationship problems. The intense schedule here at the SSP can bring out the best and the worse in a person. I think the departments should have overlap of co-chairs. There should be an ISU communication officer who deals with communication issues, press releases, media releases and promotes the program during the program: dare I say perhaps a journalism student. The students need a place they can call their own. The community center would have been perfect but it was never open when we needed it. Ray Williamson sent an email to all of us saying, "I didn't even get to meet everyone in the Summer Session, but I sure enjoyed getting to know a few of you. You're a good group--professional, capable, and enthusiastic." Students need a common area where they could congregate - not necessarily just to have a party but just to be together and hang out.

I am proud of all the Americans. I remember Chris, Carla and Steve standing up for us at the class meeting with the village, the team work behind the ISS presentation that was a totally student driven initiative. I am proud of our host country the United States of America and thankful to Cal Poly for what they were able to do for such an intense group.

I am so proud of the strength of our non-native English speakers. I want to formally recognize their efforts, and their progress. Hiroake Umehara we called him Ume for short using his last name. We should have called him the short form for his first name, Hero... I stand in awe of all our Japanese students who made such significant contributions to the program, remember the talent night.

I am so proud of the Canadians. I want to read what George Dyke sent to me: "Try to thank people for bringing their passion. In general, when I listen to people, I listen to the passion in their voices, and people really have brought that here this summer. It is such an important idea as we move forward in our careers. Whatever you do, be passionate about it. I think this is really what makes the SSP special; the people here really give their all, and it is something to be very proud of, and to keep with you in your life - As a teacher, I think you're the perfect person to stress the value of learning lessons from experiences. Learning with an open mind, and a true appreciation of what people from other cultures bring to the table. This is a lesson that is well learned here at ISU, and one that can only strengthen the world if is applied on broader and broader scales." Thank you George.

We have all had an adventure-we have been angry at each other, frustrated, we have tried to respect each other, we have made mistakes, but Love covers over a multitude of sins.

What's Really Out There?
Maybe space is not about how far the eye can see
It may have so much more to do with the people around me
The differences that separate us now don't look so far
Together we can see them as they are.

For here we've learned, we've laughed, we've cried
We've taken one more step
To know and celebrate just who we are
Those differences have become strengths
I know that we'll go far.

So maybe space is not about the things we'd like to see
It may be more about us learning to strive for what could be
I'm thankful for the time we've spent, here with you
Together think of all that we might do.

In closing I would like to challenge the audience to do something with what you have experienced this summer in SSP 2002, how will you share what you have learned, this experience, you have a mission, you are accountable to each other for what you will do with the time invested here in you.

Vergilio Ferreira said "A language is the place from where one can see the Universe."

I look out and see many faces, cultures and languages, I see the universe, I see the future in you.

Contacts directory
Philomena's speech: text (txt, 10 KB)
Philomena's speech: video (mpg, 21 MB)
Life Science Exp. Results (ppt, 167 KB)
"Lost Pomona" Lyrics
Arisa's Campus Pic (jpg, 108 KB)
Arisa's Campus Pic (jpg, 414 KB)
Gattaca screenshot 1 (jpg, 36KB)
Gattaca screenshot 2 (jpg, 32KB)
Gattaca screenshot 3 (jpg, 28KB)

Campus: image (jpg, 83 KB)
Campus: video (mpg, 424 KB)
Alumni Week '03

Party invitation (pps, 162 KB)
Birthday song (mp3, 3.7 MB)
Ammon's Wedding (jpg, 228 KB)
Ammon and Kristen (jpg, 256 KB)


Giuseppe at a Heurigen (jpg, 420 KB)

above Earth:
Arthur and Fern in 0g - 1 (jpg, 33 KB)
Arthur and Fern in 0g - 2 (jpg, 1 MB)

DP 1:
Executive Summary (pdf, 5.8 MB)
Final Report (pdf, 13 MB)
Poster (ppt, 3.2 MB)
IAF Paper Cover (doc, 19 KB)
IAF Paper (doc, 678 KB)
IAF Paper (pdf, 1.1 MB)
IAF Pres. Draft (ppt, 1.4 MB)
DP 2:
Executive Summary (pdf, 12 MB)
Final Report (pdf, 11 MB)
Final Presentation (ppt, 4.7 MB)