NATIONAL AERONAUTICS & SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Hello and Welcome to Harvard Model Congress San Francisco 2020! My name is Will Matheson, and this year I’ll be running the inaugural run of the HMCSF NASA committee. I cannot emphasize enough just how excited I am to be chairing this
committee, and cannot wait to meet you all in just a few weeks!
First, a little bit of background on me. I’m currently in my junior year at Harvard, where I’m pursuing a joint concentration (aka major) in Government and East Asian Studies and a secondary (minor) in Economics. At Harvard, I spend a ton of my time with HMC,
including as the vice president of the umbrella HMC Boston organization. Beyond that, I work on the largest biannual poll of young Americans and spend time with my friends playing pool and basketball. Coming from the great state of Utah, I love anything
outdoors-ey - snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, fly-fishing, you name it!
This is the first year we’re doing the NASA committee, which means there are a lot of directions we can take it. As a delegate in this committee, you will be asked to consider a broad scope of problems facing NASA, from competition/cooperation with other
nations to environmental research to dilemmas over what space missions to prioritize. If you haven’t yet, definitely read through the two briefings on the website. The first one, “The Future of NASA,” provides a great primer for a lot of these issues over which
NASA will have direct jurisdiction. The second, “The Commercialization of Space,” serves two functions. First, it provides additional background that you all can use to inform your decision-making on NASA priorities and programs. However, it also highlights a lot of crucial space-related issues outside of NASA’s jurisdiction. In committee, we’ll spend some time preparing memoranda or other forms of input to guide Congress and the administration.
Because this is NASA, you won’t be broken down into Democrats and Republicans and it won’t work like a traditional House committee does at HMC (we’ll still learn procedural rules and gain a better understanding of how the institution works). Still, you will have to be prepared for debate, political challenges, and unexpected questions that may shift your policies. But don’t worry if this sounds intimidating! I’m here to help you every step of the way, and we will be sure to spend time delving into the issues and discussing strategies for tackling multifaceted problems. At the start of committee, we’ll delve deeper into what all this will look like.
I hope HMC will allow you to grow in a number of different ways. By considering complex issues from wildly different viewpoints, by gaining a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities NASA faces, and by exposing you to other students
from different places, you will have the chance to broaden and question your understanding and perspectives on current issues while gaining new insight and making new friends.
As your chair, it is my goal to make your HMC experience intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. Please reach out to me if you have questions about the HMC experience, the briefings, or anything else (email@example.com). All of us at HMCSF are very much looking forward to working with you throughout the conference!