Send Ed to International Space U
Am I crazy? In 2006, I had an opportunity to study in the USA. I promptly boarded a one-way flight and flew 8000 miles from Hong Kong to Philadelphia. In 2016, I had an opportunity to participate in SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. I promptly submitted a job transfer and drove 3000 miles from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Fast forward to today, I am going to travel 5700 miles to study at International Space University in Strasbourg, France.
My background – bicultural, military, consulting, non-profit experience – has been the driving force why I want to help people and why I want to get involved in space.
I need your help to put myself in the space narrative. I am on a mission to exploreーalways searching, always growing, and always deepening.
I will be studying Master of Space Studies
I need your help! But first you should get to know me...
Like Tim Urban said, if you try to learn a branch or a leaf of a topic before you have a solid tree trunk foundation of understanding in your head, it won’t work. While that principle applies to acquiring new knowledge, it’s also relevant to understanding a person.
I am still in the process of finding my own voice in this world. I am young, inexperience, unpolished, ever-changing, and malleable. But I will provide you the lens to see through me.
Feel free to skip to any section that is interesting to you:
⏺What is International Space University?
⏺Why do I want to become a space exploration advocate?
⏺My life, zoomed out
⏺Childhood, zoomed in
⏺Military, zoomed in
⏺College, zoomed in
⏺Workday, zoomed in
⏺Hyperloop, zoomed in
What is International Space University?
ISU was founded 30 years ago by Peter Diamandis (XPRIZE founder), Robert Richards (Moon Express co-founder, Carl Sagan's ex-assistant), and Todd Hawley. The university represents the strongest network of space professionals worldwide, with 4000+ alumni in every aspect of space industry including space agency, government, large enterprise, small & medium enterprise, research, non-profit, education, and more. It provides students with basic knowledge of the space industry landscape. It emphasizes on three principles: Interdisciplinary, Intercultural, and International. Planet Labs, Spire, Chandah Space Technologies, Disrupt Space, and AU Launch Services were founded by ISU alumni. Others now work for ESA, NASA, Space Generation Advisory Council, Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, OHB, SES, etc. You have people now working in the different fields such as engineering, business development, research, education, services, law, policy, and economics.
Why do I want to become a space exploration advocate?
I want to be one of the first one million to move to Mars! And many more reasons! I want a spacefaring future for humankind. It wouldn’t be very fun if WWIII happens, and making sure space exploration and development aren’t limited from the rich countries will be the key to peace on Earth. When you have the entire world rallying under the banner of space exploration, perhaps then we are eligible to truly explore beyond solar system.
I believe that political and cultural differences could be erased when there is a shared dream of space.
Peter Diamandis and Elon Musk inspired me. They are both advocates of space exploration. I want to try to understand the inspiration, and I want to keep and deepen it.
But the real reason is that I want to find a way to serve others and feel that I am making others happy without compromising my need to satisfy my intellect’s hunger. I crave deep thinking to controversial issues and large complex problems. I want to build a community around me to broaden my horizon, to challenge my viewpoints, and build trustworthy relationships.
I want to get a job that would involve “a lot of thinking”, “a lot of reading”, overall “a lot of people working toward one dedicated common goal/dream”, and "helping/serving other people".
My life, zoomed out
⏺Born in USA (I guess I am also made in USA)
⏺Grew up in Hong Kong (fourteen years)
⏺Penncrest High School (learned to speak English)
⏺Army National Guard for six years while simultaneously getting my bachelor degree at Penn State (met some of my closest friends)
⏺Integration Consultant at Workday in Greater Philadelphia Area (grew professionally, drinking the Workday koolaid)
⏺Moved back to the Bay Area to be part of SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition as a rLoop volunteer while still working at Workday (witnessed amazing international collaboration, worked hell hours like Elon Musk)
my life in a simple diagram
each stage of my life has shaped the way I see the world
Childhood, zoomed in
I was raised in Hong Kong, nicknamed shopping paradise, well known by its materialistic culture. Everything was so fancy there. I was lucky to study at the largest secondary school St. Stephen’s College which has a high academic standard and great reputation. I was surrounded by privileged kids. It was painful to see a polarized experience between the more privileged and the less privileged ones. By Form 3 (equivalent of 9th grade), a lot of kids chose to study abroad but many more were stuck in an educational grinding system without much prospects necessarily. Because I had the luxury to options, I also chose to study abroad. Perhaps I was just following the flow, or perhaps I was longing for something more and something higher. The grass is always greener on the other side. Unknown seemed more appealing to me. Since then, I became comfortable with taking risks and I began my search.
Military, zoomed in
Sacrifice. Punctuality. Discipline. Teamwork. Selfless Service. Integrity. I won’t go into details, but these words came into my mind when I tried to explain what I have gotten out of the military. I am not saying I am the master of these qualities. In fact, military lifestyle didn’t quite suit me well. But my experience had a profound impact on me. If I had to choose again, I am still going to join the military. It’s a part of me nowーpart of my framework to understanding this world.
College, zoomed in
I was exposed to many different potential careers. I somewhat overcome some cultural barriers, and I made some of the closest friends I have in life. I found out I enjoyed helping people and building a community. I worked at a IT helpdesk, and I also worked as a residential assistant. I have done a lot, but it was a lifestyle without a purpose. I enjoyed the simple pleasures of being able to help other people, but I felt kind of lost.
Then, in 2014, Peter Diamandis was a visiting speaker at Shaping the Future Summit. He said the best way to create the future, is to create it. Who the hell is this guy? I wanted to learn more.
Workday, zoomed in
I am really not the greatest communicator. I have had troubles conversing with people. To be honest, I am not quite sure how I became a consultant. But hey, then I learned to become one! I learned that if you had a genuine desire to understand a customer’s problems and if you also had a genuine desire to help them, the project will always go well.
Workday is truly the best place to work. I have met some lifelong friends here. I have met amazing mentors here. I have been through four project cycles now, and I can handle complex requirements and solutions.
Drinking the Workday koolaid:D
Hyperloop, zoomed in
For five months, I volunteered all my spare time after my 8-to-5 job at rLoop. I often worked from 6pm until 12am. I witnessed how a team of volunteers from 20+ countries won the Innovation Award at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition I. I was lucky I was able to contribute to the project. When Elon Musk stopped by our booth, all the hard work paid off!
I was admitted to MSS17-18.
I have received a scholarship of €14,000, and I am responsible of €11,000. While I have saved up enough money the last two years in order to make tuition payment, I still have to cover my living expense in Strasbourg, France. The cost of living there is around €900-1,000 per month, roughly $1,000-1,100 (USD) after conversion.
I am putting my entire savings into this opportunity, but I still need help. Your name will appear on my website www.edwardchan.net as the least amount I can do to appreciate your support.
Monthly Living Cost: €900 -1,000
I am grateful for any generous support to help put me in the space narrative. Your name will appear on my website www.edwardchan.net because that is the least I can do in return for your support (Please let me know if you do not wish to)
I want to thank you my friends and coworkers for being so supportive. This may be the most difficult decision I’d ever made (so far). I am going to leave my friends, my family, a good career, and basically everything that has made me who I am today.
I hope my life story (gofundme.com/hellotuition) inspires you to be stronger and you will pursue what you want to do.
Click the heart ❤ to show your support!