Keystone Space Collaborative Receives $250,000 Grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

Dec 7, 2021

PITTSBURGH (September 19, 2022) – The Keystone Space Collaborative (KSC) today announced the hiring of its new program director, Zoë Karabinus, effective immediately. Karabinus marks the first full-time staff member for the growing organization, which until now has been staffed by a volunteer working group composed of passionate members of the region’s space community. 

The KSC, which was founded in 2021, is the tri-state’s premier space organization committed to attracting, growing and amplifying the next generation of space industry businesses and talent in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Seizing the opportunity to showcase and build upon the region’s unique strengths and existing resources, the KSC’s members aim to establish the region as a leader in the commercial space industry – while making it accessible to those who want to get involved.

As the incumbent program director, Karabinus is tasked with enhancing programming for KSC members, with a focus on grant writing and partnership-building, as well as expanding the existing Keystone Tri-State Space Ecosystem Map. Karabinus will also lead the planning and execution of the KSC’s second annual conference in spring 2023. The KSC’s inaugural annual conference in April 2022 welcomed over 250 attendees, drawing lawmakers at the state and federal level, as well as industry leaders and funders.

Justina Kasznica, Chair of the KSC’s Founding Board, said that following the success of the 2022 conference, an increase in engagement and programming made it very clear that the organization needed a dedicated full-time staff member to continue its trajectory of growth. 

“Zoë’s attitude and passion so clearly reflect our very mission at the KSC: celebrating and driving the region’s potential to become a nationally recognized space powerhouse,” said Kasznica. “She immediately fit the bill for the type of outgoing and knowledgeable individual needed to progress our organization in the exciting state it’s in now.” 

Karabinus is an alumnus of The Ohio State University (OSU), where she received dual bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and aviation.

“For me, this role is the opportunity of a lifetime to bring together people who are passionate about the space industry and want to positively contribute to it,” said Karabinus, who also obtained her pilot’s license through OSU’s aviation program. “Especially being a woman in this space, I’m looking forward to being the ‘boots on the ground’ for the organization and celebrating the potential here in our region.” 

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ABOUT THE KEYSTONE SPACE COLLABORATIVE: Founded in 2021, the Keystone Space Collaborative is the tri-state’s premier space organization committed to attracting, growing and amplifying the next generation of space industry businesses and talent in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. By convening people passionate about space, the Collaborative aims to attract more opportunities for job creation, inclusive prosperity and growth in this fast-growing sector. To learn more, visit keystonespace.org.