Executive Committee

President - Conor MacDonald

Conor MacDonald is a professional systems engineer at Shoal Engineering and the 2019 President of the Australian Youth Aerospace Association.

Conor joined the AYAA in 2016 as the South Australian Representative and has held a variety of positions within the AYAA national committee that have provided him with an extensive overview of the organisation. He has made significant contributions to the development of numerous AYAA programs including the Australian Universities Rocket Competition and Undergraduate Space Week.

Vice President (Strategy) - Oliver Paxton

Oliver joined the AYAA in 2016 after he started attending the association’s local movie nights, networking nights, and mock interviews.

In 2017 Oliver was Treasurer of AYAA QLD, and moved into the National Secretary role in 2018. During this time he helped grow AYAA's presence through event planning and organisation. In 2017, Oliver received the Young Australian Space Leader Award. This allowed him to attend the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and work in the space-law group at the Space Generation Congress (SGC) in Adelaide.

Vice President (National Engagement) - Thien Nguyen

Thien Nguyen is in his final year of his program in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at The University of Adelaide and the 2019 Operations and Projects Manager for the AYAA.

Thien’s involvement with the AYAA includes his role as logistics coordinator for the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition 2019, a leader for the Australian Youth Aerospace Forum 2018, and coordinator of other events through the SA chapter. Thien has done work with the Adelaide Design & Engineering Practical Team (ADEPT), leading teams of engineering students in precision agricultural technology and wing design of an ASW15 glider.

Secretary - Franklin Mudole

Franklin is an African-born, Australian-raised youth and the 2019 Secretary for the national AYAA committee. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Mechatronics, and a Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Queensland.

Franklin’s passionate nature towards STEM and the space sector has been seen through his involvement with the AYAA over a duration of five years. Franklin was elected to be the AYAA 2018 Queensland Representative, during which time, Frank and his committee facilitated involvement with all major Queensland universities, providing a platform where diversity and inclusion were amplified within AYAA Queensland.

Treasurer - Christopher Leow

Christopher Leow is currently interning at Advanced Composites Structures Australia, having recently graduated from a Bachelor of Engineering from the Australian National University in 2018.

His background in composite material development has led him to continue to pursue a PhD in composite manufacturing at ANU in 2019. Chris' involvement with the AYAA began in 2018 as the ACT representative and the sponsorship coordinator for the highly successful Aerospace Futures, after rediscovering his interest in space. This led to continued attendance at the International Astronautical Congress for two consecutive years and involvement with other Engineering societies.

Operations / Projects Manager - Lewis McCluskey

Lewis McCluskey is an Associate Engineer at Southern Launch, and a recent graduate of the University of Adelaide having studied a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours).

Lewis first joined the AYAA in 2017 where he volunteered his time to help the AYAA contingent with the International Astronautical Congress that was hosted in Adelaide. Lewis has since joined the AYAA executive committee as the inaugural AURC Director in 2018 and is now the Operations/Projects Manager for the AYAA.

AYAF Chair - Sophia Ahern

Sophia is a student at the University of Queensland and is very passionate about space and physics. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and a Bachelor of Physics.

Sophia first became involved with AYAA after hearing about an exciting opportunity to be part of the AYAA QLD committee, this is where she was appointed the role of Treasurer and from this point forward has been able to connect students to the aerospace industry and find what they’re passionate about in this field.

AF Chair - Naida Rasheed

Naida is in her second year of a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechatronics) with a Space Engineering Major, at The University of Sydney. She first became involved with the AYAA in 2018 as the Events Manager on the NSW committee. Since then, she has taken on the role of chairing Aerospace Futures 2019.

AURC Director - Myrthe Snoeks

Myrthe Snoeks is the Director of the 2020 Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC). She is currently studying a Bachelor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and a Bachelor of Political Science at the University of Queensland (UQ).

In addition to her studies, she has been actively involved in numerous extracurricular activities; from participation in the Idea Hub, where she was selected to travel to San Francisco, to the development of UQ Space, with whom she achieved first place in the 2019 AURC, provided aerospace engineering outreach activities and developed two sounding rockets with her 70 person team.

Rocket Project Coordinator - Andrew Uscinski

Andrew is in his 4th Year of a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Queensland (UQ).

His involvement with the AYAA began after he attended the Aerospace Futures conference in 2016. Since then, he has engaged in and helped coordinate many of the AYAA’s events. In 2017, he became the photographer for AYAA’s Queensland committee, and in 2018, he transitioned to the role of National Media Manager. Andrew has also been both a Leader and Organising Committee Member for the 2017 and 2018 Australian Youth Aerospace Forums in Brisbane.

Systems Administrator - Albert Sztolc

Albert Sztolc is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace) and Computer Science at The University of Adelaide.

He has a passion for all things space, inspired by the science fiction novels he began reading at a young age. Albert was further motivated to be a part of the Aerospace Industry after attending Aerospace Futures in 2016 and the International Astronautical Congress in 2017. Albert’s journey as an organisation member with the AYAA commenced with the Australian Universities Rocket Competition as an IT Specialist, in 2019 he is the national committee Systems Administrator.

Media Coordinator - Rhiannon Hames

Rhiannon is in her second year of a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney.

She has been involved with AYAA since the beginning of her university journey, as NSW Media Manager, a leader at AYAF, a delegate at Aerospace Futures, and a recipient of the 2018 Young Australian Space Leader Award. Rhiannon is the 2019 Media Manager for the AYAA national committee and is looking forward to growing AYAA’s brand awareness across Australia to tertiary students and young professionals.

People & Culture Manager - Ali Duggan

Ali is in her final year of a Bachelor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Honours) degree at the University of Queensland.

Ali’s involvement with the AYAA began in 2017, when she stood in as the Queensland committee student liaison officer. Since the beginning of her involvement, she has taken joy from helping to organise and participation in many of the Queensland branch events. These include the Viking Mars Lander Project, networking evenings and mock interview nights with industry giants Airbus and Boeing.

ACT Representative - Andrew Gibbs

Andrew Gibbs is a third-year electrical engineering student at UNSW Canberra.

He is honoured to be a part of the Chief of Defence Force Undergraduate Research Program, which has so far allowed him to complete fascinating projects in complex instrumentation work. Andrew joined the highly successful 2018 Aerospace Futures committee as day events coordinator and has since been involved in local AYAA events around the Canberra region. He is also the founder of the UNSW Canberra Rocket Team, which will aim to compete in the 2020 AURC.

NSW Representative - Abhay Mahajan

Abhay is in his second year of a Bachelor of Advanced Computing and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney.

His journey with the AYAA started in 2018 as Secretary of the Aerospace Future’s 2019 committee. Having been a space-geek since high school, Abhay joined the AYAA to enable him more exposure to like-minded people, turning their similar interests into real careers.

QLD Representative - Nick Phillips

Nick Phillips is in the third year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace) degree from the University of Queensland.

Nick was first involved with the AYAA in the role of Student Liaison for the 2018 Queensland Committee, with the aim of providing students with the support and information they needed to join AYAA and become involved with AYAA events. To build upon this in 2019, Nick has taken the roles of Queensland Representative and AYAF Sponsorships Coordinator, aiming to further support students with a passion for Aerospace and Aviation, regardless of their location or study pathway. Nick's investment in the aerospace industry is clear through his experience in the AYAA Rocket Project, working with schools, and his time spent with UQ Space, where he has further developed his connections with students and industry.

SA Representative - Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of South Australia and has been involved with the AYAA for the past three years.

On the South Australian committee he has acted as the secretary, along with assisting in planning for the 2017 Aerospace Futures conference in Adelaide. He has volunteered at numerous events with the AYAA, most notably the IAC in 2017, along with various positions at his State Library, community events and networking nights. He has a passion for additive manufacturing and is interested in its use in the aerospace industry, due to its ability to create custom and lightweight designs.

WA Representative - Tristan Ward

Tristan Ward has recently finished his Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics and Nanotechnology, in 2018.

This study program was undertaken at Murdoch University in Perth, where he was appointed the Physics Student Ambassador to promote and teach Physics. Tristan’s interest in aerospace technologies led him to attend the Aerospace Futures conference in 2016. This event inspired Tristan to form the AYAA’s first representation in WA.