Skip to main content

USRA Announces Elections of 2021 Members to Board Positions

USRA Announces Elections of 2021 Members to Board Positions

COLUMBIA, Md.May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Universities Space Research Association (USRA), an association of 114 universities, today announced the election of new members to its Board of Trustees — the governing body of USRA. 

At its Annual Meeting, USRA’s Council of Institutions elected the following four Board members:

Daniel E. Hastings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was elected Region I Trustee

Wayne A. ScalesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), was elected Region III Trustee

Elizabeth A. LadaUniversity of Florida, was elected Region IV Trustee

General Lester L. Lyles, United States Air Force, (Ret.) was elected At-Large Trustee.

Dr. John A. Montgomery, Chair of the Board of Trustees said, “I am pleased to welcome our four newest members to USRA’s Board. They each have a unique background, with diverse experiences that make them an asset to USRA.”

Dr. Jeffrey A. Isaacson, President and CEO of Universities Space Research Association noted, “The leadership experiences our new board members bring will be invaluable to USRA and its unique non-profit mission. I look forward to working with each of them.”

Prof. Daniel E. Hastings currently serves as head of the Aeronautics and Astronautics department at MIT. He has held various leadership positions at MIT, including Director of the Engineering Systems Division and Dean for Undergraduate Education.  

His research specializations include synergetic interactions between space systems and the space environment, space propulsion, space policy, spacecraft manufacturing processes, and space system architectures.

Prof. Hastings served as Chief Scientist for the U.S. Air Force from 1997 to 1999. He was also the Chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 2002 to 2005; and from 2002 to 2008, he was a member of the National Science Board.

He is a recipient of numerous accolades, including election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Hastings received his bachelor’s degree from Oxford University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

Prof. Wayne A. Scales is the J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. He also serves as the founding Director of the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research. Prof. Scales was Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program in Remote Sensing and is Affiliate Professor in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech.

His research focuses on space plasma turbulence with applications to active space experiments, natural space plasma turbulence in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, dusty space plasmas, and global navigational satellite system remote sensing.

A recipient of numerous awards for excellence in research, teaching, and service in the College of Engineering, Prof. Scales has over 100 refereed publications and has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than 20 research projects. He has also served on various advisory boards.

He received B.S. and M.S. degrees with Honors in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, with focus in Space Plasma Physics.

Prof. Elizabeth A. Lada is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Florida. She was formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and, later, a Hubble Fellow at the University of Maryland. She joined the faculty at the University of Florida in the fall of 1996.

Her research centers on understanding star and planet formation. In particular, she has made significant contributions to our understanding of the origin, properties, evolution, and fate of young, embedded star clusters within molecular clouds. This includes investigations of the formation, evolution, and lifetime of circumstellar, protoplanetary disks. Prof. Lada has published approximately 200 publications, including 77 refereed publications, with more than 10,000 citations and an H-index of 45.

Prof. Lada has a distinguished service record, having served as a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Math and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences Senior Review Committee, the National Optical Astronomy System Roadmap Committee, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Program Advisory Committee, and the Nominating Committee for the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.

A recipient of several awards, she received the Annie J. Cannon Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1992 and an NSF CAREER award in 1998. In 1999, she received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Prof. Lada holds a B.S. in Physics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Texas.

General Lester A. Lyles is a former Vice Chief of Staff of the United State Air Force; former Commander, Air Force Materiel Command; and former Director, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.  He has been a member of the NASA Advisory Council since 2005 and serves as its current Chair.  He was also a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee and chaired the National Research Council’s Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program. An elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, General Lyles also chaired the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academy of Engineering from 2010 to 2016.

General Lyles serves currently on the Board of Directors for several major corporations, and is a past Chairman of United Services Automobile Association (USAA). He served previously on the Secretary of State’s International Security Board, the Defense Science Board, and the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, appointed by the White House from December 2009 to May 2013.

General Lyles received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He also received Honorary Doctor of Law degrees from New Mexico State University and Urbana University.