About Us

Penny4NASA was founded to uphold the importance of Space Exploration and Science. We believe wholeheartedly that our federal funding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, at a mere 0.48% of the total U.S. budget, does not reflect the hugely important economic, technological and inspirational resource that this agency has been throughout its 50+ year history. With thousands of new science and engineering students becoming inspired continuously, and the multitude of technologies that NASA research has both directly and indirectly made possible, we believe that NASA needs to be funded at a level of at least 1% of the U.S. federal budget. This isn’t a partisan argument, and this isn’t a fiscal budget argument. What this is, is the American people saying that as a society, we want our tax dollars to reflect the importance of science and space exploration. And 0.48% doesn’t cut it. We are calling for NASA budget to be increased to at least 1% of the U.S. federal budget.

Our Partners

The Team


John Zeller

Founder & Executive Director

Founder and Director of Advocates for Space Exploration and its Penny4NASA campaign, is a senior at Oregon State University majoring in Computer Science. He currently serves as Team Lead for the OSU Robotics Club’s Mars Rover Team. Since childhood, Zeller has been interested in space, science and technology. Even then, he understood the importance of pushing a space frontier, wondering why humans had gone to the Moon but not on to Mars and beyond. After graduation, Zeller plans to pursue a Masterʼs degree, leading to a career in aerospace or robotics development in the private space industry.

Zeller believes wholeheartedly that an active space program provides future generations of Americans an invigorated spirit of exploration and discovery centered around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This spirit will continue to increase the economical, inspirational and technological dividends that already come from NASA and other institutions.

Note on OSURC: John Zeller, and the actions presented in the #Penny4NASA campaign, are not representative or related to the OSURCʼs activities as a student organization.

Nick Saab

Director of Government Relations

29167_1300736120071_503871_n Nick works in government relations and grassroots advocacy at an association dealing with STEM issues in Washington, D.C. Earning his degree from the University of Minnesota in Political Science and Religious Studies in 2011, Nick was heavily involved in grassroots, advocacy, and lobbying at the student level, and led campaigns to increase both federal Pell Grant funding and state funding for tuition. During his day job, Nick advocates on behalf of STEM, infrastructure, energy, and environment issues.

While never the math whiz, Nick had a passion for discovery growing up (resulting in many scars and broken bones) that translated through high school and college into a fascination with space and humanity’s inevitable path beyond Earth. Using his experience working for both public office and private interests, he hopes to change the way elected officials view the importance of manned space exploration and NASA priorities.

When he can, he spends his free time in Washington’s museums, reading, attempting to be athletic, and restaurant-discovering.

Kyle Sullivan

Board of Directors

Victoria's version of me Kyle Sullivan is a graduate of anthropology and biology at University of Alabama at Birmingham, with a goal to pursue a career in science writing and advocacy – especially concerning the search for life. Kyle feels astrobiology is an incredibly important emerging field of research as we seek life elsewhere in the universe. However, without contributions by NASA, this crucial search would be impossible. In 2011, Sullivan worked to secure funding for the James Webb Space Telescope via a grassroots social media campaign called saveJWST. That campaign succeeded, which will allow the JWST to fly; Congress voted to fund the space telescope after a robust letter writing, email and phone call-in campaign. He is also a #NASATwetup / #NASASocial alum.

While well aware of budget issues facing the U.S. government, Kyle believes NASA’s economic impact and effect on our cultural well-being provide all the reason legislators need to properly fund it. Science IS America and NASA represents America’s most esteemed values – bravery, critical thinking, exploration of the unknown - in physical form. With Penny4NASA, Kyle hopes to help NASA secure the funding it needs to follow its original charter to advance a space frontier and to educate Americans on NASA’s impact on their daily lives, today and in the future.

Evan Schurr

Director of Video Development

Evan Schurr is an undergraduate student of Chemistry at the University of Louisville, with hopes to attend graduate school and eventually enter the space industry. He has always been interested in manned spaceflight, and enjoys combining his knack for video editing with his passion for all things space related. He hopes that in his efforts, he can pass along the spark of interest in science he found as a child to the rest of the general public.

While Evan believes that the private space industry is nothing to be scoffed at, he strongly believes that cutting funding for NASA is a dangerous decision, and that private spaceflight and NASA can and will coexist in the future. He hopes that in the future he will be employed in this dynamic industry.

John Stancliffe

Director of Website Development and Management

John Stancliffe is an Internet marketing professional with almost a decade of industry experience. He has applied his unique skillset to a variety of industries including manufacturing, travel, news media, and lifestyle television (including HGTV & Food Network).

In the same way Prometheus brought fire to humanity, NASA has the potential to spark the wonder and imagination of the American public. Using his extensive Internet marketing background, John hopes to increase public awareness regarding the scientific and practical contributions which accompany space exploration.

Born in Los Angeles, John currently resides in Dallas, TX with his wife Renee. He has also called East Tennessee, Northern Idaho and Minnesota home. John’s interests include power lifting (he can squat or dead-lift the equivalent of 945 pounds on Jupiter), anything Rat-Pack related, expensive scotch, and a good tobacco pipe.

Serenety Hanley

Director of Grassroots Outreach and Engagement

Serenety Hanley Serenety Hanley has spent 13 years developing and implementing online grassroots programs and political technologies. Serenety had the honor of serving President George W. Bush as the first woman to hold the title of White House Internet Director, and as the first Director of the Office of Web Communications at the Environmental Protection Agency. Previously Serenety was the first Director of Political Technology at the Republican National Committee where she developed and managed innovative and first-its-kind political technology projects, including:

The award-winning GOPTeamLeader.com volunteer website which was the first “gamified” political web site that awarded points for recognition and redemption; Voter Vault – the first online national voter database; and The groundbreaking Wireless 72 Hour get-out-the-vote program – the first wireless precinct reporting application and program to track voter turnout, synch with Voter Vault and thus leverage volunteer calls and door knocks on Election Day.

More recently, Serenety was named a 2012 Innovator of the Year by Campaigns & Elections for her work to include more citizens in the political process through new technologies. She has also been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale on how to use social media for online activism.

She started her political career as a project manager at Targeted Creative Communications. Serenety is the proud mother of a rambunctious little boy, and a self-confessed tech geek.

Curtiss Thompson

Director of Social Media

As an undergraduate student in political science and journalism, Curtiss is interested in leveraging new media as a vehicle to influence public policy. Due to his clout on sites such as Digg and reddit, he landed a position at AOL’s social news site Netscape.com. Subsequently, he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for their feature story, The Wizards of Buzz, recognized as one of the 20 most influential people in social media. In 2011, he was a major proponent of the SETI Stars initiative to bring the Allen Telescope Array out of hibernation. Contributing to the grassroots social media campaign #DecideToListen, he helped raise $200,000 to fund the SETI project. Recognizing the transformative power of scientific endeavours on society, Curtiss is firmly committed to seeing NASA funded to a level commensurate with the tremendous economic, technological and inspirational value it confers.