Executive Committee

President - Oliver Paxton

Oliver is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland in Hypersonics, and the 2020 President of the Australian Youth Aerospace Association.

Oliver’s involvement with the AYAA began in 2016 after he started attending the association’s local movie nights, networking nights, and mock interviews. Following this, Oliver has held many different positions within the AYAA including: QLD Treasurer (2017), National Secretary (2018), and Vice President – Strategy (2019).

Vice President - Thien Nguyen

Thien has recently completed his degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Adelaide, and is currently based in Queensland working in the engineering team at HeliMods.

Thien’s time with the AYAA began in the SA committee as an event coordinator in 2018. After this, he was a student leader at the 2018 Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF), logistics coordinator for the Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC) 2019 season, before moving into the National Committee as the National Engagement Manager in 2019.

Secretary - Sophia Ahern

Ever since Sophia was young she has been passionate about space, she wanted to (and still wants to) be an astronaut where she is able to explore the universe and beyond and try to answer all the unknowns of space. This led Sophia to study a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and a Bachelor of Physics at the University of Queensland.

Treasurer - Conor Kennedy

Conor is in his third year of a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering with a major in Space Engineering at the University of Sydney.

Conor’s journey with the AYAA commenced as a student delegate at the 2018 Aerospace Futures conference, where his experience motivated him to help organise the conference in the following year with the aim of inspiring the upcoming generation of Australia’s aerospace industry. His involvement has continued as a member of the NSW committee, and now in his role as Treasurer for 2020 Conor is determined to increase the AYAA’s efficiency and continue to grow its capability to inspire and connect futures.

Operations / Projects Manager - Lewis McCluskey

Lewis McCluskey is a Modelling & Simulation 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.

National Engagement Manager - Tristan Ward

Tristan Ward is in his first year of a Masters of Professional Engineering. He is majoring in Software engineering at the University of Western Australia.

His interest in aerospace technologies led him to Aerospace Futures in 2016. He earned the position of National Engagement Manager after he formed the organisation’s representation in WA. In one year as a State Representative, Tristan led four events with speakers of organizations such as CSIRO and Curtin University. Tristan already has professional experience in five countries. This includes co-founding a Tech start-up company in Australia with business partners in Singapore and Australia.

AF Chair - Meaghan Munro

Meaghan is currently undertaking her undergraduate Aerospace Engineering degree at Monash University and as a technical supervisor and demonstrator. She recently completed an internship at Gilmour Space Technologies.

She is also the founding team leader for Monash High Powered Rocketry, who finished second in the 30,000ft category of the AURC. In her spare time she enjoys watching musical theatre and dancing.

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.

AYAF Chair - Truc Le

Truc Le is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Biological and Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Queensland.

In her professional career, she has taken up research positions at the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and the UQ School of Psychology where she was able to lead projects in the realm of biosciences and neurobiology. Her keen interest in the aerospace industry, as well as her drive to volunteer led her to join the AYAA, where she is currently the chair of the 2020 Australian Youth Aerospace Forum.

NSW Representative - Joshua Rohan-Gould

Joshy is a 4th year Engineering and Computer Science student at UNSW, Majoring in Mechatronics and AI respectively.

He attended Aerospace Futures 2018 in Canberra and loved it, sparking an interest to get more involved in 2019 as part of the organising committee for Aerospace Futures. Joshy is devoted to becoming an astronaut/engineer living and working in space, ideally designing habitation and survivability hardware and software for colonisation. He has worked in Biomedical Engineering for 3 years, most recently as a Quality and Design engineering assistant.

QLD Representative - Callam Bond

Callam is in his final year of a Bachelor of Aviation at Griffith University, before he begins his practical flight training.

Callam’s involvement within the AYAA begun in 2019, as he took up the role of Griffith University Representative within the Queensland Committee. In this role, he enjoyed the interaction he had with other students in his discipline as well as the coordinated effort of the committee to organise events for the benefit of those students.

VIC Representative - Hamish Self

Hamish is in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at Monash University.

Hamish’s involvement in AYAA began when he joined the Victorian Committee in 2019, where he was initially a committee member and later acting State Representative. In 2020, he hopes to continue growing AYAA’s presence in Victoria, and inspire younger students to pursue a career in STEM.

Legal Officer - Chace Eldridge

Chace is in his final year of a Bachelor of Aviation at Griffith University. Chace has also completed the first year of a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at QUT.

Chace only recently joined the AYAA as he saw the fantastic work they did at the 2019 AYAF and the opportunities this brought for both the leaders and participants of the camp. As a result, when there was an opportunity to join the team as Legal Officer for 2020 Chace jumped at it as he felt it was a role he would have the knowledge and experience to perform aptly. Chace has also been to the Kennedy Space Centre as a finalist in the 2016 Conrad Innovation Challenge after his team submitted ideas to further develop the modern space suit.

Media & Communications Manager - Joshua Baker-Lahey

Joshua is in his second year of a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Mathematics at The University of Queensland.

He first heard about AYAA through UQ Space and began getting involved in their events in 2019. In 2019 he began involving himself in the UQ Space Payload team, working on aerospace based projects and launches. As Marketing & Communications manager Josh aims to develop the image of aerospace to those within and outside the industry. He strives to be a core driving force through both school outreach and university-based programs.

People & Culture Manager - Emmanuelle Anguissa

Emmanuelle completed her studies in Aviation & International Business at Edith Cowan University in 2019.

Her involvement with AYAA began after attending Aerospace Futures in 2018. She was astounded by the organised participation of the youth in expanding the opportunities that the aerospace industry has to offer hence, prompted her to be the WA Secretary. Together with the new State Committee, she has organised various events in WA with the purpose of establishing an AYAA branch. Emmanuelle aspires to be a commercial aircraft pilot and eventually an expert aviator.

Systems Administrator - Albert Sztolc

Albert is currently in his final year of Engineering (Mechanical & Aerospace) and Computer Science at The University of Adelaide.

Albert’s involvement with the AYAA began the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition as IT Specialist. Since 2019, Albert has been involved with the AYAA as the Systems Administrator, and in 2020 hopes to launch the AYAA’s new website. Albert also hopes to increase his involvement with AYAA’s media and marketing to look into new ways of engaging youth passionate about Aerospace.

Scholarships Coordinator - Joe Steer

Joe is a South Australian aerospace engineer who has recently graduated from the University of Adelaide.

Joe first joined AYAA in July 2019 as a leader at the Australian Youth Aerospace Forum which motivated him to become as involved as possible in AYAA and to help foster an interest in aerospace in others. Joe is now acts as the scholarships coordinator which involves overseeing the selection of the Youth Australian Space Leaders, liaising with sponsors, and procuring more scholarship opportunities for young Australians.

Strategic Partnerships Manager - Harrison Papagianis

Harrison is in his penultimate year of a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Aeronautical Engineering) and Bachelor of Science (Physics) at the University of Sydney.

After almost crying after hearing the roar of an F-111 afterburner from his baby pram, Harrison has been on a mission ever since to promote that same excitement he once felt from his pram! With the AYAA being the perfect place to do so. He first joined AYAA in 2018 as the NSW Outreach Manager. The following year he became the Sponsorship Coordinator for the Aerospace Futures Conference. In 2020, he is now the Strategic Partnerships Coordinator.