Five from MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics named 2023 Matthew Isakowitz Fellows
Last week, the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program (MIFP) announced its 2023 Fellows. Among them are three graduate and two undergraduate students from the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro). Ph.D. students Skylar Eiskowitz and Rashmi Ravishankar, Master’s student Clara Ma, and undergraduates Hillel Dei ’24 and Benjamin Rich ’24 will all complete a paid internship with industry leaders, receive one-on-one mentoring, and attend the annual MIFP Summit.
The MIFP, established in memory of Matthew Isakowitz, a pioneer in the commercial space industry, aims to inspire a passion for commercial space by offering career training and mentorship to fellows who embody Isakowitz’s drive to better humankind through exploration. Each year, the program selects 30 fellows from hundreds of applicants based on their academic excellence, experience, and interest in innovation, entrepreneurship, and the commercial space industry.
Hillel Dei ’24
Hillel Dei is a junior pursuing a double major in aerospace engineering with a concentration in nano-scale materials and general mathematics. Dei is interested in aerospace materials and hopes to contribute to the creation of a self-healing or programmable matter for aerospace applications. He is eager to experience working in industry to learn how it differs from academia. “I am excited to collaborate with my peers beyond MIT and with the pioneers of private aerospace,” notes Dei. “Collaborative efforts are always more productive, so I hope to take my first steps in helping push this field forward.” Dei will be interning at Blue Origin.
Skylar Eiskowitz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Engineering Systems Laboratory researching autonomous satellite communication networks, and designing algorithms that allow satellite operators to become more autonomous in their decision-making. “I am honored to become a part of the Matthew Isakowitz family, knowing firsthand as a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow how meaningful these connections will be,” says Eiskowitz. “The fellowship will introduce me to an incredible network of future colleagues, collaborators, and perhaps even co-founders!” Eiskowitz will be interning at Virgin Orbit this summer.
Clara Ma is a Master’s student in the Technology Policy Program and researches the projected atmospheric impact of commercial launch vehicles in conjunction with AeroAstro, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), and the Aerospace Corporation. She previously worked at NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations and the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Ma will intern with Virgin Galactic.
Rashmi Ravishankar is a Ph.D. candidate in AeroAstro and the Center for Computational Engineering. She works in the Engineering Systems Laboratory, applying state-of-the-art detection techniques to detect small objects from space via satellite imagery. One application of this research is counting solar panels on solar farms from space. Her internship this summer will be designing and building a space station, allowing her to explore and branch into space systems. “I am super excited about meeting and interacting with the other fellows, both here at MIT and during the summit in July,” says Ravishankar. She will be interning at Gravatics and receive mentoring from the former executive secretary of the National Space Council in the White House.
Benjamin Rich ’24
Benjamin Rich is a junior majoring in AeroAstro with a concentration in information technology and minoring in computer science. His research interests include autonomy, controls, and robotics. With a strong passion for autonomy, controls, and robotics, Rich has already been involved in several research projects at MIT and had the opportunity to intern with SpaceX’s Starlink propulsion team. “I am most excited about the mentorship I will receive through the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program and to meet the other fellows and alumni,” says Rich. He will be interning with Blue Origin this summer.