Because They Care: Alumni Causes

The students, faculty and alumni of ERAU share a passion for everything aviation, aerospace and STEM. Some have turned their passion to support of worthwhile causes. Whether in an effort to engage more females in fields that are traditionally male-dominated, to encourage all young people who share this passion to prepare for success, or raising money to help support education, our alumni are working hard to improve the industry and the world.

Michelle Lucas attended the Daytona Beach and earned a bachelor’s in communication. She spent ten years working for NASA, primarily in International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Operations Planning and as an Astronaut Instructor in the Daily Operations Group. Now she heads up the non-profit organization she founded, Higher Orbits. Their mission is “to excite students of all ages about STEM/STEAM and working to fulfill their dreams and ambitions while also building teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.” The “Go For Launch” program brings speakers and hands-on projects to classrooms to expose students to the excitement and opportunities spaceflight offers. Culminating in a capstone project, students have a chance to have their experiments selected for a trip to space! The website features past winners, a blog and a shop with fun space-themed goodies.

Michelle Lucas, class of ’00, in front of the College of Arts & Sciences, Daytona Beach campus

She earned the university’s Eagle Entrepreneur Alumni Award in 2019.

Alumnus Tim Bailey is the Executive Director of the annual Yuri’s Night celebration. According to the Yuri’s Night website, the mission is: to use the excitement and inspiration of space as a catalyst for educating and developing the next generation of explorers. We fulfill this mission through a commitment to:

  • empowering leaders: in making a difference, pursuing their dreams, and inspiring others to do the same.
  • building communities: working shoulder to shoulder on visionary projects, overcoming barriers and finding common ground.
  • bridging cultures: be they geographic, social or technical, we are all learning to speak each other’s languages.
  • encouraging science literacy: bringing people hands-on experiences and passionate storytelling to explore their physical world and nurture their love of learning.
  • promoting a sustainable and peaceful future: sharing “the Overview Effect”with all people, inspiring them to take ownership of our home planet and the future of humanity.

Yuri’s Night, named for Yuri Gagarin, the first human to venture into space in 1961, is celebrated at parties and events around the world each year, including at Kennedy Space Center. Tim’s passion for space is reflected in the many jobs he holds in addition to his role in Yuri’s night, including Flight Director at Zero-G Corporation where he helps passengers manage the challenges of weightlessness. Check out their website below – they do pretty cool stuff!

There are many ways the alumni of ERAU give back, through mentorship, co-ops and internships for students and, of course scholarship. See a sampling of what they’re up to here, it’s a pretty impressive bunch!

Thanks, ERAU!

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