April 9, 2022

#SpotlightSaturday Board of Directors: Meet Kim DeSpain

We are excited to introduce Kim DeSpain as one of our newest elected members to our Board of Directors! Kim is an agra science teacher and FAA Advisor at San Carlos High School on the Apache Indian Reservation. Her dedication and passion for education are evident and make her a true asset on our board!

I had the opportunity to speak with Kim earlier this month to hear about what gets her #SpaceInspired!

Katy Thompson: What Inspires you to serve as a Board of Directors Member for Higher Orbits?

Kim DeSpain: Simply put, it’s my daughters experience that she has had through Higher Orbits. I got to watch firsthand, how students’ lives can be changed and inspired by their experiences through Higher Orbits.

KT: Absolutely! And that actually bridges us into our next question. You mention that your first interaction through Higher Orbits began with Abigail attending GFL! in 2017, now do you feel this experience will help you in your role as a Board of Directors Member?

KD: Sometimes I think about the anticipation I had when we were watching the reveals live and watching to see if her experiment was being selected. The same anticipation for the students announced to go to Australia two years ago. So, I have been on that side of it. Just recently for the first time, I had the experience to actually be a judge and look at experiments and help finalize who should be the next launch. Getting to see it from both sides as more of administration and as a participant. I think that gives me an opportunity to look through two different lenses for this.

KT: Obviously you see the impacts as an educator and also as a parent. Thank you for sharing that. Is there anything else you would like to add about our organization?

KD: I just so appreciate her [Michelle Lucas, Founder and CEO] dedication and her love for just continually giving these students opportunities. I teach on an Apache Indian reservation so we’re remote, we are off, far away from the city, some people have never even been to Phoenix, and some have never left the reservation. So, experiences for them change lives. And I see Michelle and Higher Orbits doing that. Changing. Kids. Lives. And that’s why I am grateful to have the chance to serve, because its impacted and effected Abi’s life.

KT: That perspective is so critical as a board member because you have a direct insight to the organization and what it means to really be impacted by Higher Orbits.

I am going to move on to our final question, if shipping and packaging was not an issue what three things would you pack if you were traveling to Mars tomorrow?


1. Camera

For sure I would need a really good camera, because I have to take pictures of the site and document it…

2. Snacks

I am a snacks person. I carry snacks with me all the time, so I would like some delicious snacks and to be hydrated...

3. Seeds

Honestly, I would like to take some seeds, because I would like to grow things as an agriculture teacher, growth and plant life on Mars would be pretty exciting. So, I would take seeds we could grow on Mars.

KT: Awesome! Is there a particular seed you would like to take?

KD: My kids this year have been very successful at growing radishes and tomatoes, so let’s see if we can grow them there!

We are SO excited to have Kim join us as a newly elected Board of Directors member. Thank you for helping us continue to inspire the next generation of STEM students!

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