18:50 PM

MEMS Student Grabs Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship

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A MEMS student was recently named into the 2022 Class of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program.

Stephanie Manasterski is a junior double major in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. As part of the fellowship, Manasterski has been matched with a summer internship at Virgin Orbit, where she will be working on their vehicle’s propulsion system. She is also set to receive mentorship from former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus. Manasterski also co-founded PropLab, a rocket propulsion team where students work to build, design and fire a solid APCP rocket motor and a liquid bipropellant engine, both novel endeavors for Pitt.

Along with Manasterski, recent Pitt Physics graduate Fernando Tabares also received a fellowship. Tabares is currently a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Manasterski and Tabares are both (current and past) members of the Society of Astronautics and Rocketry (SOAR).  During Tabares time at Pitt, he founded the University’s SEDS chapter and led the rocketry team as part of the NASA Student Launch. He also created a team to participate in the NASA Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge, where he contributed to the development of a novel water extraction system for Mars. Tabares has been matched with Relativity Space as a part of the fellowship program and will be part of the manufacturing team for the first stage of the Terran 1 rocket. He will be mentored by Tim Buzza, former vice president of SpaceX.

Manasterski and Tabares are two of 30 aspiring space industry leaders selected for the fellowship this year. The program, now in its fifth year, is named in memory of Matthew Isakowitz, an industry leader who made great strides in the field. The fellowship is designed to connect exceptional individuals with internships, mentors, and a network in the commercial spaceflight sector. The program received over 200 applications from more than 90 schools this year and winners were selected based on academic excellence, relevant experience, and, most importantly, a demonstrated passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercial space. Winners are awarded with a paid internship at cutting-edge commercial space companies, a one-on-one mentorship from accomplished members of the space community, and an invitation to a summit in which the fellows learn about space start-ups, network with top industry leaders, and develop entrepreneurial skills.