The Life of an Aerospace and Aviation Innovator
A conversation with Antonio Stark, Conrad Challenge alumnus
Antonio Stark is an international business and a space policy consultant. He is a Brand Identity Manager for the Space Generation Advisory Council and sits on the Alumni Leadership Council for the Conrad Challenge.
Stark's association with Conrad Foundation dates back to the 2015 Conrad Challenge, in which his team won first place in the highly competitive Aerospace & Aviation category for their creation of a high functioning micro-gravity space toilet. The invention had zero motors, in contrast to the multi-motor efforts that, at the time, were malfunctioning on space crafts. As he explains, "I created a toilet bowl that basically didn't have to use any motor. It was purely water pressure, but I had to use some complicated fluid dynamics for the fluid to be able to suck in things while not having gravity."
Stark never expected to win, so much so that he showed up to the award ceremony in only jeans and a t-shirt. He looks back on the experience as pivotal in creating a sense of confidence that led to becoming a U.S. State Department intern, starting his own ventures and accomplishing goals that now have him traveling around the world.
"That leap of confidence was something that I gained in myself after the competition. Conrad established a level of self-confidence that I never had before. It is significant for non-Western students because Western students [are taught] to have a lot of confidence in themselves. They are good pitching about and talking about themselves. But non-Western people sometimes stay [within] certain hierarchical structures that [discourage] crossing boundaries, but that's what I did."
Stark has an intelligence, transparency, and authentic manner indicative of what the Conrad Challenge hopes to support. He is an ambassador representing the kind of innovative spirit and ingenuity Pete Conrad embodied and admired.
Registration for the 2019-20 Conrad Challenge is open until November 1, for teams of 2-5 students ages 13-18. Learn more and register here.
About Antonio Stark
Antonio is an international business consultant and a space policy consultant. He’s currently pursuing a double degree in enterprise operations and AI/Machine Learning at Minerva Schools at KGI. Antonio is a representative to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPOUS) through the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) where he also serves as the Brand Identity Manager and the National Point of Contact for South Korea.
He is also the National Coordinator for World Space Week Association, Track Coordinator for the National Space Society, and a Sales Representative at Space Watch Global media firm.
Antonio has had hands-on experience with space policy, being a Space Policy Intern for the U.S. State Department and a lobbyist for the U.S. Congress from the Alliance for Space Development. Antonio has a background in UN governance/sustainability and entrepreneurship. He was an International Liaison at the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) Seoul office, relating on his experience as a startup accelerator program manager at 500 Startups, GSV Capital, T-Hub, and Hanyang Social Innovation Center. He was also an investment portfolio researcher at SoftBank Ventures. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/antoniofowlstark/
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