JOHN REYNOLDS - COMMANDER
John Reynolds was born in Seattle, Washington, and has lived within numerous cities in the US and Japan. After graduating from Washington State University with a BA in Education, he worked in Isfahan, Iran training Iranian army helicopter pilots during the last days of the Shah’s regime in the late 1970’s. From there he began a career as a professional airline pilot and flew with various international airlines in Africa, the Middle East, Germany, Belgium and for the longest period in the UK. All long-haul operations were working in various environments with international and local crews of varying degrees. His spare time is spent doing DIY, fixing and refurbishing various rental properties as a business, reading, and doing FOREX as a day trader. When not busy with work, he likes to travel, visiting family and friends and being involved with The Mars Society. The short story.
APRIL DAVIS - CREW GEOLOGIST
April Davis is a student at MiraCosta College, where she works as a program assistant for the MiraCosta Astronomy Department. At the age of 18 she enlisted in the US Army, spending most of her enlistment in Mannheim, Germany as a truck driver in the Army’s only active duty bulk fuel company. She did one tour of duty in Iraq, as part of the invading force attached to the Third Infantry Division. After returning home, April worked as an engineering technician at Infineon Technologies, providing inline quality control for all stages of 200mm/300mm wafer production. Last summer, April drove from the Atlantic Ocean coastline to the Pacific Ocean coastline, in a month long camping adventure chasing America’s most interesting and beautiful geology. She is now pursuing a degree in planetary geology with an emphasis in geophysics, in hopes of one day applying that education from a habitat on Mars.
DIANE - CREW ASTRONOMER
Diane Turnshek is an astronomer and a science fiction author whose short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and elsewhere. She teaches astronomy and experimental physics lab in the Physics Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She also teaches at the University of Pittsburgh (“The Physics of Science Fiction” as well as astronomy). She's a contributing author of Many Genres/One Craft, a 2011 award-winning book on writing. She has taught college writing classes, helped organize science fiction conferences, founded Alpha, the genre workshop for young writers, and ran the 2007 SFWA Nebula Awards in NYC. Diane has four stellar sons and an out-of-this-world boyfriend.
ERICK TIJERINO - CREW ENGINEER
Erick Tijerino currently works as Combustion, Performance and Emissions engineer for Cummins Inc. His current role involves both thermo-fluid analytical and experimental work in vehicles as well as in performance and emissions test cells.He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and is currently enrolled in the Aerospace Engineering Masters Degree program at the University of Central Florida. He is currently working on acoustically levitated nano-fluid droplet evaporation; he has published the results of his research in journals such as APL and JAP.
Erick has worked as the hardware design lead in the UCF UNESCO Satellite Earth Observing Payload program. He has designed arterial flow simulating pumps for Nagoya University in Japan as well as leading the Guatemalan Marine Biology Society underwater ROV design team. His background includes machining and helicopter maintenance. Erick also served his community in Guatemala as a volunteer firefighter.
DEREK PELLEND - CREW XO (EXECUTIVE OFFICER)
Derek Pellend was motivated to join the MDRS team because of his background as an explorer and pursuit of scholarship. He is an Eagle Scout and U.S. Marine, familiar and fascinated with nature. Survival skills, leadership and service are ingrained. After military service, Derek earned a scholarship and a bachelors degree in social sciences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he helped launch the national Student Veteran program. (SVA)
He began a career in education as a high school teacher and model UN coach in Metro Detroit. Derek won a scholarship to pursue a Masters in Education at the University of Southern California. He began working on a multi university education outreach program that interacts with local school administrations in California. He is currently working towards his PhD. in Educational Psychology at Pepperdine University. Derek is engaged in a school gardening initiative in Los Angeles.
NORA SWISHER - CREW ASTRONOMER & HEALTH/SAFETY OFFICER
Nora Swisher is a first-year physics graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She helps teach an astronomy class for non-scientists and is currently taking classes and deciding what field of research to pursue for her thesis.
As an undergraduate physics student she did experimental research in granular materials at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has spent the last summer doing computational cosmology research at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been involved with the Society of Physics Students and high school outreach, and is particularly interested in decreasing the gender gap in STEM fields and retaining physics and astronomy students of all genders and backgrounds.Nora looks forward to participating in MDRS to gain more varied professional experiences, contribute to space exploration research, and go on an adventure!
SEE BELOW FOR CREW REPORTS, OR VISIT THE CREW REPORTS OVERVIEW PAGE.