The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to announce the creation of the NSS Legal Fellows program, an unprecedented opportunity for exceptional law students with a passion for space and international law. The mission of the NSS Legal Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated law students with a national platform to make their voices and ideas heard in respect to the continuing evolution of international and national space law.
The NSS Legal Fellows for 2021-2022 are:
Christina Almonte is a first-year law student planning to concentrate in Air & Space law. She writes: “Air & Space law is intriguing because it is an innovative legal field, and because it is truly an area where the fruits of our labor will be felt for generations to come. The legal parameters that lawyers make now, with respect to Air & Space law, can set humanity up for success in the long run as we explore space. With Air & Space law, I am interested in the intersection of space technology and overall societal advancement. My educational background is in International Relations and Political Science. I chose to study Air & Space law to integrate my passion for debate, diplomacy, and desire to see greater societal innovation into one career. I hail from New York City. We’re built tough up there, and my family is from the Dominican Republic, where the lack of political leadership has prevented the country’s growth. I want to use my New York strong attitude, coupled with my understanding of the need for forward-thinking leadership, to continue to push forward the necessary perspectives on how we can create a better future of advanced technological means that both address our global challenges and spur human innovation.
Jessica Andrews is a 2021 graduate of Florida State University College of Law. Before law school, Jessica worked as a behavior analyst for approximately 10 years while also interning within the Community Pediatric Public Health Programs at Eastern Virginia Medical School for multiple years. She holds a master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from FSU as well as a master’s in Public Health Practice from USF. While in law school, Jessica was a member of the Space Law Society as well as an executive editor of FSU Law Review and managing editor of FSU Business Review. Since graduation, Jessica has worked as a law clerk at Johnson Pope Bokor Rupple & Burns, within their health law department.
Olaoluwa Oluwanifemi Awe
‘Nifemi is undertaking the Master of Laws program in Air and Space Law at McGill University as an Erin J.C. Arsenault Fellow in Space Governance. Her research at McGill focuses on the role of law in propelling African States to exploit space technologies for Africa’s socio-economic development. ‘Nifemi is a high achiever and multiple award winner who has received various scholarships and awards for her program at McGill. In recognition of her academic excellence, she was awarded the Setsuko Ushioda-Aoki Prize by the Faculty of Law at McGill University. She was also awarded the African Space Industry Top 10 Under 30 Award. She is a researcher and volunteer whose work aims to contribute to the development of space law and policy in Africa. She volunteers her time with organizations and programs geared towards Africa’s space governance and the development of the next generation of aerospace practitioners in Africa. In her spare time, ‘Nifemi loves to sing and travel.
Adam is a third-year law student at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School. He grew up in New Jersey with his younger brother and Russian immigrant parents. At Lehigh University, Adam received a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies, with a minor in Earth & Environmental Science. He then spent a year living in Israel-Palestine as a Yahel Social Change Fellow. While in law school, Adam interned at a federal agency’s personnel law group and at two small firms specializing in personal injury law and medical malpractice. His dream is to become a space lawyer working in rocket launch operations. Adam has spent most of his free time training for a triathlon. Adam also loves to read science fiction, listen to music, windsurf and snowboard, and go out with friends. Adam looks forward to writing about space law and helping to push the field onward and upward
Leana Brown is a third year law student at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Prior to law school, Leana attended the University of Colorado in Boulder for both her undergraduate degree and her masters degree. In 2018, Leana received her undergraduate degree in Economics with a minor in Classics. She then continued her education at the University of Colorado in Boulder and received a Masters in Corporate Finance. At UNL, Leana is a Co-President of the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications club. Additionally, she is a student researcher with a primary focus on space law. With Leana’s background in economics, corporate finance and her ever increasing knowledge of space law, her perspective is unique. Outside of law school, Leana is an active member of the NSS President’s Legal Council, and is working on a series of policy papers focused on economics in space. During Leana’s last year in law school she aspires to publish her thoughts and perception on the rising subject of space law particularly concerning the private sector. Leana’s interest in space law grows every day and after graduation she hopes to get a job in the field.
Bailey Cunningham is pursuing an LL.M. in Air & Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Bailey received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law in 2021. Prior to law school, Bailey attended the University of South Florida, where she majored in Political Science and minored in both Astronomy and Intelligence Studies. Bailey is a Senior Editor of the Journal of Space Law at the University of Mississippi and a former Legal Intern for the International Law Practice Group at NASA Headquarters. Bailey previously served as the Vice-Chair of the NSS International Committee and is currently the Chair of the NSS President’s Legal Advisory Council. Additionally, Bailey volunteers with For All Moonkind and serves as the Space Law Project Manager.
Diana Chicas García
Diana Chicas García is from Virginia and a daughter of immigrants. She earned her undergraduate degree in foreign languages and international relations from George Mason University. She is currently a 3L at the Howard University School of Law, where she co-founded and serves as the Vice President of the Howard University Space Law Society. Since starting law school, Diana interned at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; competed in a telecommunications and technology competition as a member of the Charles Hamilton Houston National Moot Court Team; served as a student attorney at the Howard Civil Rights Clinic; and supported Professor Justin Hansford as a Constitutional Law I TA. This year she has learned a great deal about space law through her time at the Space Court Foundation, the Space Generation Advisory Council, and NASA’s International Law Practice Group. Diana is looking forward to applying her experiences and legal interest in space, tech, and civil rights as an NSS Legal Fellow.
Grant Haas grew up in Titusville, Florida where he enjoyed the wonders of the space coast and a part-time job as a photographer at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – stationed in front of the retired Shuttle Atlantis. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida in Finance. He was then accepted into the Florida State University College of Law where he received his juris doctor, magna cum laude, in 2021. While in law school, he worked as a law clerk for two of the largest firms in Florida, a well-renowned local firm in Tallahassee, FL, and as a legislative intern for the Florida House of Representatives’ Commerce Committee, where he drafted bill analyses for new insurance and banking laws. Grant was on FSU Law Review’s Executive Board as a Notes and Comments Editor, FSU Law Moot Court Team’s Executive Board as a Treasurer, and was a staff editor on FSU Law’s Business Review. He competed in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in 2020. After graduating law school, Grant moved back to the space coast to practice corporate law at WhiteBird, PLLC in downtown Melbourne. He is beginning his specialization in mergers and acquisitions, tax, and business reorganizations while maintaining an interest in representing the space industry nearby. In his spare time, Grant enjoys playing and watching sports, listening to sports and business podcasts, and keeping up with the development of the space program. In addition, he volunteers his time as a Catholic youth group leader for high school students.
Connor Haffey grew up in a small town at the top of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. His high school experience was a bit untraditional from most in the States. He left his hometown to pursue an IB degree at Pearson United World College in Victoria, B.C., on a full merit-based scholarship, where he immersed himself in a vast array of global perspectives. The experiences Connor fostered at Pearson blossomed into a full academic scholarship to the University of Florida where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in environmental science and a minor in international development and humanitarian assistance. While at UF, he was heavily involved in Student Government as a student senator and senior advisor to a Student Body President’s campaign. Although always interested in outer space, he was not introduced to the concept of space law until his final year at UF while taking a course called “Feeding Martians” that focused on horticultural research regarding plant growth on other celestial bodies. This past summer, he started volunteering for the Space Generation Advisory Council’s Space Safety and Sustainability project group where he was tasked with writing articles relating how a specific UN Sustainable Development Goal can be furthered with space technology. The Air and Space Law Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law motivated his decision to come to Oxford, MS and he is tackling his 1L year at the law school.
William Hoeffner completed his undergraduate degree at Georgia College and State University for History and Political Science. William is now a student at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He hopes to do work involving cleaning space junk and planetary protection. He believes that advancing these areas will help humanity be safe on Earth as well as any possible future homes out in the cosmos.
Lauren Lambert is a first year student at the University of Mississippi School of Law studying Air and Space law. She is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she discovered her passion for writing, STEM, and space. Prior to attending law school, Lauren spent 14 months at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in various capacities. She has interned in the Office of Communications at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for two rotations. She has also interned in the Office of Stem Engagement at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. More recently, Lauren interned at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a part of the Hubble Space Telescope Team.
Quinn McKemey is enrolled in the University of Mississippi’s Graduate Certificate program in Air & Space Law and works full time as a Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst for LPL Financial, supporting the Client, Legal & Risk, and Human Capital departments. He earned his Master of Business Administration at the University of Mississippi in 2019 as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2018. A lifelong enthusiast in human space activity, Quinn currently serves as a Legal Fellow for the National Space Society and co-founded orbital debris remediation advocacy platform Clean Orbit.
Luca Meseke is an ambitious Law Student from Trier, Germany. While aiming to finish his law degree in 2022, he is also engaged in various non-profit organizations, such as the largest law student association in Europe, and a law clinic providing legal aid to those in need. After completing minor degrees in Anglo-American and Spanish Law, he chose to combine his legal experience with the exploration of space. Looking beyond the borders of his home country, he came to know NSS, making it his goal to be part of its Legal Fellows Program, getting one step closer to being part of humanity’s conquest of space.
Christiana Paissios is a third-year law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is a Greek American from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a double major in Anthropology and Political Science. Christiana is interested in Drone and Corporate Law while working to complete the Business Law concentration at the University of Mississippi. This year, she will serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Drone Law and Policy and as a Managing Editor for the Journal of Space Law.
Gregory Radišić is a third year law student completing his Juris Doctor at the University of Calgary (JD ’22). Throughout law school, Gregory has worked for the United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC), the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC–OTP), and he holds a position at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Gregory is also a proud alumni of the Schulich School of Business, where he completed his Masters of Marketing (MMkg ’19), and Queen’s University, where he received his two Bachelors degrees in Life Science (BScH ’17) and German (BA ’18). From his diverse academic and professional experiences, Gregory has cultivated a passion for working within areas of international law and policy where he can make an especially significant impact – particularly in the areas of national security law, humanitarian law, and air and space law. In his spare time, Gregory can be found skiing, hiking, or climbing the Canadian Rockies.
Shrey Madaan is a budding lawyer from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India. He is passionate about space advocacy and its correlation with tech laws, as he believes this field of legal study should be considered more than a mere novelty. He is intrigued by the enigma of cosmos and the cynically twisted concept of cyberpunk.
Fisher Smith is a third year law student at the University of Mississippi where he is part of the Space Law concentration. Additionally, he is part of the Ole Miss Trial Advocacy Board and a part of the National Space Society‘s President‘s Legal Counsel. Since he was a child, Fisher has always been interested in science and outer space. Whether the thrilling adventures of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, the exploration of the cosmos by Captain Kirk in Star Trek, or the boundless possibilities created in Isaac Asimov’s stories, outer space has been a world of wonder for Fisher. Throughout his undergraduate studies at Rhodes College, Fisher focused his Political Science and International Studies interests towards outer space policies. These research interests showed him that by cooperating as a multinational community, humanity can harness outer space to improve conditions here on Earth. This interest in outer space possibilities led him to the Air and Space Law society at Ole Miss, and he hopes to use these motivations to aid the NSS mission.
Samuel Thorpe is the Director of the National Space Society’s Legal Fellows program. Sam is also a third year-law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law where he focuses his studies in Air and Space Law. He is the President of the Ole Miss Air and Space Law Society, a Managing Editor on the Journal of Space Law, a member of the NSS President’s Legal Advisory Council, and currently interns at Masten Space Systems. Sam’s infatuation with space started as child when his parents would wake him up to watch shuttle launches from his front yard in Orlando, Florida. Sam rediscovered his love for space during his undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida in Professor Robert Bledsoe’s Space Law class. Sam has worked on many projects focused on space law covering various topics such as the delimitation of outer space, outer space resource utilization, and the commercialization of space. Sam looks forward to sharing his views on these topics as well as all things space through NSS.
Hannah Thurston is originally from Titusville, Florida near the Kennedy Space Center. Coming from a family of rocket scientists and growing up in the shadow of the space shuttle program, Hannah developed a passion for the space industry. She attended Stetson University for her undergraduate studies and completed post-graduate science coursework sufficient to qualify for the patent bar. Hannah interned this past summer with NASA’s Office of the Chief Counsel and is looking to pursue a career in space law.