School of Engineering alumna Madeline Bowne and graduating senior Raymond Martin are among the 30 college and graduate students selected from a record 280 applications for the 2021 class of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program. The program honors the memory of an engineer, entrepreneur, and associate director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation whose love of space exploration inspired all who knew him.
“It is absolutely fantastic that two of our students – one an aerospace major and one a mechanical engineering alumna – have been tapped for the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program,” says Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering undergraduate director and professor Assimina Pelegri. “As the only aerospace engineering degree offered by a public university in New Jersey, we give students a multi-disciplinary education in the basics of air- and spacecraft design, while our mechanical engineering graduates have been driving national industrial growth for more than a century.”
The highly selective summer internship and executive mentorship program is tailored to the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders. Now in its fourth year, it awards outstanding college juniors, seniors, and graduate students wishing to pursue aerospace careers with paid internships at commercial space companies. The fellows also receive one-on-one mentorship from members of the space community, as well as networking and learning opportunities with top industry leaders.
Hoping to one day work on something that would bring people to space, Martin elected to major in aerospace engineering. His previous experience includes internships with Northrop Grumman’s Launch Vehicle Division and Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems. He will graduate in May and expects to earn his MS from Rutgers next year.
“Matthew Isakowitz was the type of engineer we all dream of being,” Martin says. “He touched the lives of those he worked with and made great contributions to the industry he loved. This fellowship is an opportunity for me to not only become a better engineer, but also to learn to promote the same passion for space that Matthew had.”
He recalls, “My own interest in the commercial space industry was sparked when I sat in room D110 of the engineering building on Busch campus and watched the first successful SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch and landing in February 2018.”
This summer, he has been assigned to Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturing and sub-orbital spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent Washington, where he hopes to work on the company’s lunar lander. “Hopefully, it will be selected by NASA to bring astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024,” he says.
After completing his MS degree, Martin aims to return to Blue Origin in a full-time capacity. “In the future, I want to contribute to growing humanity’s presence in outer space,” he explains. “I’m inspired in particular by Professor Benaroya’s extensive work in the field of lunar habitats, and I hope that I can play a part in making a permanent lunar base a reality.”
Madeline Bowne, who graduated from SoE with a BS in mechanical engineering in 2020, is currently working towards her MS in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech, where she is working as a research assistant in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory.
“I pursued mechanical engineering back at Rutgers because of its range and applicability across many industries,” Bowne recalls. “Pairing in-class instruction with real-life applications, such as Rutgers Formula Racing, helped me grasp engineering fundamentals.”
At Rutgers, she interned with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, she was able to work on launch vehicles and combat systems. “I’ve always been a futurist and daydreamer at heart, so the space industry was a natural fit for me. Since pursuing my master’s degree, I’ve gained a great deal of perspective on what the future of the commercial space industry could be – and I’m excited to find my place in it.”
As a Matthew Isakowitz Fellow, she will be interning with Florida-based Made in Space, which develops space manufacturing technology that supports exploration, national security, and sustainable settlement in space. “I’m not sure what project I’ll be assigned to, but I believe I’ll be in the robotics and integrated manufacturing arm of the company, working on a payload for the International Space Station,” she says.
“This fellowship has blown my network wide open. The number of space industry titans I can learn from during the program is humbling, inspiring, and a little overwhelming. The lifelong group of peers is an incredible resource and support system,” she says. “Matthew’s legacy is remarkable and I’m extremely honored to be part of such a network.”
While Bowne expects to receive her MS degree in 2022, she is already looking to the future. “I’m considering a PhD and I’d like to do research and development work or possibly work at a start-up,” she says. “While I haven’t completely decided on a focus yet, ultimately I’d love to pair my love of space with my interest in sustainable energy.”