National commercial spotlights alumni

by Stephanie Saccente

MARS ROVER TECHNICIANSSan Diego State will launch a new national TV commercial to spotlight eight Aztec alumni, now with NASA, who helped land the Curiosity rover on Mars.

The 30-second commercial, titled “From SDSU to Mars,” will debut during this year’s Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championship.
The eight alumni involved—Mark Ryne, Doug Clark, Bonnie Theberge, Jordan Evans, Amanda Jeremiah Thomas, Brandon Florow, Joey Brown and Dave Herman—took on various pivotal roles that contributed to the success of the mission. The roles of these alumni ranged from systems engineer to spacecraft navigator, according to SDSU chief communications officer Jack Beresford.

The alumni will be presented with a Monty Award in April for their accomplishments.
Several of the alumni were a part of the Rocket Club on campus, which gave them experience with multistage booster rockets. When NASA was recruiting engineers, an SDSU alumnus/alumna scouted students to work in Pasadena.

Graphic design junior Kelsi Gallegos believes it’s important to share any and all alumni achievements.

“As a school, we should be proud of the accomplishments of fellow SDSU students and highlight them whenever possible,” Gallegos said. “These are the goals we should all strive to achieve.”
The commercial, filmed in two days on the SDSU campus, contains footage from ground control and computer animation from NASA. Beresford hopes the commercial will show that SDSU is an impressive place for engineering students to get their start. He said this event is a source of pride for the university and a great example of the university’s tagline, “Leadership starts here.”

“Our students go big places and do big things,” Beresford said.

Accounting sophomore Ashley Breedan would like to see SDSU break away from its “just a state school” stereotype. She is thrilled to see the accomplishments of former students and hopes this will show the differences SDSU students can make in the world.
“I appreciate that in this new commercial, SDSU is really trying to show the exemplary education and scholars at (SDSU),” Breedan said. “We are often considered a party school and people should not solely have that outlook in mind. Any commercial that helps to address that point is good in my book.”
Seven of the eight alumni will return to campus at 3 p.m. on April 19 in the College of Arts and Letters 201 to participate in a public lecture to share their experience. The commercial can be viewed on SDSU NewsCenter as well as The Daily Aztec’s website.