Originally founded by students at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, STARS now holds an interdisciplinary focus aimed at helping students in business, engineering, robotics, computer science, and other fields to find opportunities and cultivate relationships in the growing commercial space industry. 


We believe the industry will see rapid expansion in the years to come. While the commercial space industry is primarily comprised of a vast array of satellite technologies that have transformed modern life, from GPS and telecommunications to weather prediction and surveillance, the next phase of the space economy has already begun.  This era will be brightly marked by commercial successes in launch,  low-earth orbit, private landings on the lunar surface, and manned missions to the international space station and beyond.

The age of the nation-state monopoly on human spaceflight is quickly coming to a close. The growth of the space economy will not be achieved by governments alone, but through public-private partnerships that provide enhanced service to state and commercial customers.  Our future in space requires a new generation of innovative business and technical leaders with the skills to make space operations more profitable, more effective, and more accessible, all while maintaining the utmost standards of safety. STARS exists to find those leaders and connect them with companies and resources that will help them excel.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.


David Farren


David grew up in Orange County, California before pursuing his BS in International Relations from the United States Military Academy. While in the Army as an Armor Officer, he led teams working on Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in the US Army. After the military, David moved on to a supply chain management position Walmart Inc. David is concentrating his time at Tepper on Business Strategy, Operations Management, and Entrepreneurship. David wants to help businesses connect with the exciting opportunities provided by the commercial space revolution.

Alex Salesi

Executive Vice President

Alex is a born and raised Pittsburgh-er who holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Professional Engineering License in multiple states. During his career as an engineer, Alex worked on a wide variety of infrastructure projects including: gas & oil, roads, tunnels, and bridges, as well as in emergency response efforts following hurricanes up and down the east coast. At Tepper, Alex has joined the boards of both the Data Analytics Club & the STARS Club to further chase his childhood dreams of being an astronaut. Alex looks to combine his passion for people, technology, and learning together at CMU and is excited to be a part of the blossoming space industry.

CJ Dearborn

VP of Innovation

CJ has a B.S in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University. He worked for an EPC contractor for the first two years of his career and completed four six-month rotations in manufacturing, construction, project management, and chemical engineering. After his rotational programs, he moved to the chemical process design side of the petrochemical industry at a leading petrochemical licensor, Lummus Technology. During his time at Lummus, he worked first in an engineering team and later moved to the business development and sales side of the business. CJ’s main focus at Tepper is to concentrate on Marketing, Strategy, and Finance with the ultimate goal of pursuing impactful roles in the technology space.

Cory Hamilton

Education and Social

Cory holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Boston College, a Masters of Engineering from Duke University, and is currently working on an accelerated dual degree from CMU’s Heinz School of Public Policy and the Tepper School of Business. Before attending Carnegie Mellon University, he worked as a High School Math Teacher in the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a Data Analyst at Capital One, and as a Data & Digital Solutions Consultant at two firms. His focus is on Strategy, Economics, and Public Policy at CMU. After graduation, he hopes to get involved with venture capital to help space, energy, and cleantech startups succeed and amplify their impact.

Sheldon Pei

VP of Finance

Sheldon is a child of Maine, raised in Massachusetts, and received a B.Arch from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He worked in Shanghai for a bit, designed and built several buildings before coming back stateside to work as a structural engineer for the oil/gas offshore industry at SOFEC, inc in Houston, Tx. During this time, he received a Master of engineering from Norwich University, and built floating production storage and offloading vessels for the oil majors of the world. At Tepper, Sheldon joined the Energy Business Track and plans to have several concentrations. Beyond the classroom, Sheldon loves to bike, cook, and talk about history. He ultimately wants to pursue a career in where the energy and the space industries intersect (Solar Space ring + Space Elevator).

Jason DiVenere

VP of Corporate Outreach

After attending space camp three times, Jason went on to earn a B.S. in Business Administration and a Minor in Physics from Carnegie Mellon, and completed Pre-Med at Georgetown University. He is currently working towards his MBA and plans to apply it to space-related endeavors post-graduation. Prior to his return to Carnegie Mellon, Jason earned his private pilots license and spent five years working as an aerospace engineer at Scaled Composites, helping to design, build and test Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Currently, Jason is the CEO of a management company he founded in 2016, based in Malibu, California. When not working or studying, Jason enjoys finding creative ways to earn airline miles and credit card points through excessive travel, taking fun trips to spend said miles, sustainable energy (especially electric cars), 3D printing and spending time with his wife, son and three dogs.

Caleb Lyman

VP of Media

Caleb directs research and analytics at an appellate litigation practice based in Washington, D.C. He has worked on strategy and communications for cases across the country and in courts from federal district courts to the United States Supreme Court. His educational background is in contemporary art and design. He has won multiple awards for both installation art and graphic design work. He hopes to apply his creative background to the challenges and opportunities unique to the emerging new space economy.