Board of Advisors
Mr. Jorge Rufat-Latre
Jorge is a native of Barcelona, Spain. Fueled by his enthusiasm for space exploration, he crossed the Atlantic to work at NASA. There, he planned life sciences Space Shuttle missions, built astronaut training simulations, and led artificial intelligence research. While at NASA, he earned his pilot’s license and began exploring the country. He went on to become a commercial pilot and multiengine instrument flight instructor.
For the past 20 years, Jorge has helped his clients surface and overturn industry conventions to achieve competitive advantage. He works with organizations that were not content with the status quo and who redefined the limits of the possible. He is exploring his own edge, starting with his first 100-miler in 2010 and continuing most recently at the Arrowhead 135, his second self-supported winter ultra. He was in eastern Greenland last summer, traversing glaciers and collecting samples for Ulyana.
Jorge is honored and delighted to be part of Science in the Wild. Science in the Wild is at the tip of the spear of an important evolution for science and its funding. In an increasingly educated world, scientists have the opportunity to make science real and personal to many, and to rally new constituencies. Ulyana and Jorge first met at a NOLS wilderness first responder (medical) class. They hit if off famously and currently are getting ready for a science expedition that embodies the values of Science in the Wild to Baffin Island this coming April.
Dr. Jason Reimuller
Jason’s love for science and exploration was seeded at a very young age, and in following his dream of becoming an astronaut, he received his PhD in aerospace engineering sciences with an emphasis on remote sensing from the University of Colorado in 2011. His dissertation used remote sensing techniques from aircraft and spacecraft to study climate trends in upper-atmospheric ‘noctilucent clouds’ and continental glaciers. To support his ongoing research interests, Jason became a commercial research pilot and NAUI SCUBA divemaster and has traveled to over 60 countries, often supporting research efforts in the Arctic. Prior to 2010, he served NASA as a system engineer and project manager for manned space programs and as an officer in the US Air Force.
Jason currently serves as the executive director of Project PoSSUM, a non-profit research and education program that enables citizen-science astronauts to conduct global climate science in our upper atmosphere, develop complementary technologies, and communicate the vital role that plays in our understanding of our global climate. Jason brings remote sensing and glaciology expertise to Science in the Wild, and is excited to see the citizen-science model of conducting and communicating science applied to many of the essential scientific fields that further enable a broad understanding of our changing global climate.
Mr. Brian Shiro
Brian works at the intersection of science and operations. He brings sound scientific judgment to natural hazard monitoring and studies how geophysical exploration best practices on earth can be adapted for use on other worlds. Brian currently serves as supervisory geophysicist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory after having spent a decade with NOAA. He holds a B.A. with majors in Integrated Science, Geology, and Physics from Northwestern University, an M.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis, and an M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. He is also a graduate of the International Space University’s Space Studies Program and a current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where he manages crew surface exploration activities for NASA’s Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation (HI-SEAS) program.
As an avid explorer, Brian has experience conducting science expeditions to study subsurface water, ice, caves, and earthquakes in the Arctic, Antarctic, and remote Pacific regions. He has also spent over 60 days aboard research vessels mapping the seafloor and served on two simulated Mars mission crews in Canada and Utah. Brian was a “Highly Qualified” NASA astronaut candidate applicant in 2008 and 2012. He co-founded the non-profit organization Astronauts for Hire (A4H) to provide professional development, networking, and mission development opportunities for aspiring astronauts. Through A4H, he has tested a wearable biometric monitoring device in microgravity and completed multiple astronaut and survival training programs. Brian is a strong advocate of science education and outreach in his local community and beyond and looks forward to aiding SITW expeditions and scientific efforts.
Dr. Melissa Lane
Melissa loves space and adventure. She studies the geology of Mars by comparing spacecraft data to lab spectra of minerals, rocks, and meteorites. She has always enjoyed the stories planets can tell through the study of their rocks. She is a Participating Scientist with the Mars Odyssey THEMIS instrument currently orbiting the Red Planet. Melissa earned a PhD in geology and mid-infrared remote sensing from Arizona State University where she stayed on as a one-year Postdoc to analyze Mars Global Surveyor TES data. She then spent 2 years as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, where she was inspired by the Apollo-era Saturn V she passed each day. Since 2001, she has been working at the Planetary Science Institute where she is now a Senior Scientist. Melissa’s recent passion is climate change advocacy, which has taken her to Washington, DC on several occasions to lobby Congress to create policy that would help reduce fossil fuel consumption and reverse global warming.
Melissa had high hopes of becoming an astronaut and was interviewed in 2000, but now seeks adventures of other types including traveling the world and being spun in a human centrifuge to help determine minimum training requirements for commercial space travelers. Melissa spent 8 weeks with the ANtarctic Search for METeorites (ANSMET) team collecting meteorites for research, during which she lived in a tent on the ice for 6 weeks (and adored it!). She recently has been to the amazing Galapagos Islands to see the giant tortoises and strange birds, and to the Sacred Valley in Peru to visit Machu Picchu. Melissa’s travel bucket list is long and she will continue her worldwide adventures and quest for science through engagement with and guidance of SITW.