Prior Year Judges


MAE JEMISON, M.D. is the Principal for the 100 Year Starship Project. Her leadership and vision provides guidance and direction for the organization in fulfilling its goal of ensuring all the capabilities for a successful human journey to another star will exist by 2112. Dr. Jemison, physician, engineer, educator and entrepreneur, the first woman of color in the world to go into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, served as a NASA astronaut for six years. She is the author of several children and young adult fiction and nonfiction books and was a professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College.


JASON D. BATT serves as Creative and Editorial manager for 100 Year Starship. Mr. Batt creates visual engagement for 100 Year Starship programs and activities. His short fiction has appeared in Bastion Magazine, Bewildering Stories, and in the upcoming anthologies Visions of the Futureand Genius Loci. His most recent book, Young Gods, a young adult urban fantasy, was published by Realmwalker Publishing this last summer. His children’s series, Tales of Dreamside, will be re-released this upcoming fall.


AUGUST COLE is a writer and analyst specializing in national security issues, and a former defense industry reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His most recent book Ghost Fleet, written with P. W. Singer, looks at future of the next global conflict.


JAYM GATES is an editor, author, and crisis communications specialist. She is the former Communications Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and has written extensively for science fiction and fantasy in many categories, from academia to gaming.


ALEC MEDÉN is a lifelong lover of science fiction and science fact, especially in the context of space exploration. He is a Junior majoring in Creative Writing and Screenwriting at Chapman University; currently working on an anthology of short stories. He recently won the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare Project’s Space Conflict Writing Contest.


RONKE OLABISI, PH.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department of Rutgers University. Dr. Olabisi’s current research interests include orthopedic tissue engineering and regenerative medicine for injury, aging, disease, and space flight. Her PhD research centered on limb lengthening: (1) muscle and joint function; (2) the elastic and viscoelastic properties of tendons; and (3) the histomorphology (cell structure) of lengthened tissue.


BAILEY STANLEY is a high school freshman in Georgia. She has a love for all her studies but enjoys leisurely writing the most. She notes that her family has supported her through her efforts and she will be working on student-led initiatives through 100 Year Starship.


JULIETTE WADE, PH.D. is a linguist, anthropologist, and author of science fiction and fantasy. She has turned her love of language and her experiences living in Japan and France into tools for creating stories of magic and alien culture. Her work has appeared in Analog, Clarkesworld, and various anthologies.­

KATHLEEN COLGAN, PH.D., is the Founder of International Speechwriting Associates (ISA) and has written for Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, university and educational groups, governors and members of Congress, American and international astronauts, Chambers of Commerce, Olympic events, public service organizations, the entertainment industry, political candidates, and charity, awards, and multicultural events. Her work has not only been featured by American and European television news programs and C-Span, but also widely published in such venues as Vital Speeches of the Day and Representative American Speeches. An Ivy League graduate of Brown University, Kathleen earned an A.B. in political science and English and American literature. She has an M.A. degree in international relations and political philosophy from Rice University, an M.A. degree in English and American literature from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from the University of Texas in Austin. Kathleen has taught at such universities as Rice University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Texas — always earning the students’ highest possible teaching reviews. Among courses taught are “Composition and Rhetoric” and “Constitutionalism and Modern Political Thought.”


KEN WISIAN is a sometime scientist, full-time military officer and lifelong space enthusiast. He has degrees in Geophysics (Ph.D.  SMU), Physics (B.A. University of Texas at Austin) and Strategic Studies (M.S.S. US Army War College). Ken is a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School and has more than 70 hours of high and medium risk test flights as well as combat time in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently serves as a Major General in the US Air Force and Air National Guard.


SOFIA PUERTA WEBBER is a journalist from Colombia, South America. She moved to the US in 2002 pursuing her dream to save the Amazon Rain Forest. She created an interactive performance with an instrument she developed called Shiwido™, the spinning toy that makes exercise fun and flies children to the rain forests of the Earth. Sofia is a yoga and meditation teacher and playground specialist. Sofia has published articles about health, wellness and the environment in several newspapers and magazines both in English and in Spanish. She has edited and translated best sellers from nonfiction to Vedanta philosophy. Sofía is a big fan of the 100 Year Starship and believes in the idea of a happy and balanced space civilization.


PAUL WEBBER is an Aeronautical and Astronautical engineer working in the world of software. He is presently the manager of Development Operations at ResMed, a medical device company helping people sleep better one breath at a time! Paul is also the President of the San Diego Java User’s Group. In the last 25 years Paul has developed several software programs in the fields of aerospace, biotechnology, finance and health. Paul is a professional member of the 100 Year Starship and would like to live in space at some point in the future. In the meantime he flies his paraglider along with his wife, Sofia, at various paragliding sites around the world.


LORETTA WHITESIDES has over five hours of weightless time in a 727 aircraft as a Flight Director for Zero-G Corporation. She and her husband George Whitesides are also signed up to take a sub-orbital spaceflight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Trained as an astrobiologist at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta has been to the Canadian Arctic to study plant life in extreme environments and to the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean with “Titanic” director James Cameron to film a 3D IMAX documentary, “Aliens of the Deep.” Loretta’s passion is helping the space community create the culture of the sci-fi future as well as the cool spaceships.


JANET DE VIGNE is a creative professional living and working in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a teacher, she works at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Education and Leadership, teaching on education, research and critical literacy courses. She has supervised Masters dissertations at Edinburgh and Durham. As a creative professional she played the German tourist in Slumdog Millionaire, directed Margaret Atwood in the launch of the Year of the Flood at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and sang the title role in Menotti’s the Saint of Bleecker Street in its first performance in Scotland, among other things. Janet trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama after a first degree in French with German at the University of Exeter. Holding a Masters in TESOL from Edinburgh she is now studying for a PhD at Lancaster. Janet is the author of chapters on education in the tripart Extra-terrestrial Liberty series from Springer Verlag, edited by Charles Cockell.


DAVID ORBAN is a member of the Faculty of, and Advisor to the Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges. He is also an entrepreneur, the Chief Innovation Officer of Dotsub, the leading technology and services provider powering video viewing via captions and translations as subtitles in any language to increase access, engagement and global reach, based in New York City. David is the Founder of Network Society Research, a London based global non-profit, creating a vision and analytical tools to allow individuals, enterprises and the society at large to deal positively with the unstoppable change towards decentralized and distributed technologies disrupting the centralized and hierarchical functions of the Nation State.”



I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining.

Octavia Butler