New Space and Tech

Announcing the 2023 Class of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program
January 26, 2023
Filed under
Announcing the 2023 Class of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program
2023 Class of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program

The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program—a summer internship and executive mentorship program inspiring the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders—announced today the 30 individuals selected for its 2023 class.

Now in its sixth year, the highly selective program awards exceptional college juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing aerospace careers with paid internships at cutting-edge commercial space companies. Fellows also receive one-on-one mentorship from accomplished members of the space community, including astronauts, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and others. Additionally, the program features a memorable summit during which the Fellows learn about space start-ups, network with top industry leaders, and develop entrepreneurial skills.

For the 2023 class, the program received a tremendous response, with applications from more than 250 students from over 90 colleges. Applicants were rigorously screened for academic excellence, relevant experience, and, most importantly, a demonstrated passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercial space. The enthusiasm about the Fellowship comes at an exciting time in commercial space, as an unprecedented number of new companies are transforming the space program. This past year saw new rockets achieving orbit, astronauts being flown in new private vehicles, small spacecrafts launched in record numbers, and major increases in private investments. This has created a large increase in students inspired by these new opportunities to demonstrate novel technologies, protect the environment, connect the world, and explore the planets.

See below for the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program’s Class of 2023, including each Fellow’s current school and Summer 2023 host company. (Schools where they previously earned degrees are indicated in parentheses). A full bio for each Fellow and more information is available online.

  • Faraz Awan, Princeton University — Millennium Space Systems
  • Tycho Bogdanowitsch, Columbia University — Virgin Orbit
  • Hailu Daniel, University of Maryland, College Park — Blue Origin
  • Hillel Dei, Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Blue Origin
  • Candace Do, Princeton University — Rocket Lab
  • Catherine Dominic, University of Texas at Austin — Relativity Space
  • Skylar Eiskowitz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (The Cooper Union) — Virgin Orbit
  • Taylor Hampson, Georgia Institute of Technology — Stoke Space
  • Madison Hobbs, Harvey Mudd College — SpaceX
  • Sydney Hsu, Stanford University (Princeton University) — SpaceX
  • Justin Kao, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign — Relativity Space
  • Grace Krahn, Georgia Institute of Technology — Sierra Space
  • Samuel Kurtin, University of Colorado Boulder (University of Texas at Austin) — Axiom Space
  • Andrew Lesh, Stanford University — Astrolab
  • Russell Lubin, Case Western Reserve University — Firefly Aerospace
  • Clara Ma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Georgetown University) — Virgin Galactic
  • Therese Malinowski, Purdue University — Rocket Lab
  • Emily Matteson, Cornell University — Impulse Space
  • Sydney Menne, University of North Dakota — Astra
  • José Morel, Georgia Institute of Technology (Binghamton University) — Redwire
  • Katie Mulry, University of Texas at Austin — Ursa Major
  • Hannah Nabavi, University of California, Berkeley — Redwire
  • Mark Paral, Purdue University — Lynk
  • Julia Proctor, Cornell University — Astranis
  • Swati Ravi, University College Dublin (Columbia University) — Sierra Space
  • Rashmi Ravishankar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Indian Institute of Technology Madras) — Gravitics
  • Benjamin Rich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Blue Origin
  • Thomas Ridgeway, San Diego State University — Astra
  • Charlotte Silver, Duke University — Astranis
  • Ryan Smithers, Yale University — ABL Space Systems

At the end of the summer, the Fellows will remain among a group of alumni who can continue to network with this program, their mentors, and past and future Fellows, on the path to becoming future space industry icons. The previous five classes of Matthew Isakowitz Fellows are continuing to excel in their academic and professional careers, with many taking on volunteer roles to contribute to the continued success of the Fellowship program. The list of Alumni Fellows is available online.

The program has also added a number of new participants to its lists of host companies and executive mentors for Summer 2023. The new host companies include Astrolab Venturi, Firefly Aerospace, Gravitics, Impulse Space, Sierra Space, Stoke Space, and Ursa Major. The new executive mentors include former NASA Astronaut and NASA Administrator, Charlie Bolden; Vice President of Customer Operations and Integration at SpaceX, Jessica Jensen; Senior Vice President of the New Glenn Heavy-Lift Orbital Launch Vehicle at Blue Origin, Jarrett Jones; and former Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability Team at SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann. The full lists of companies and mentors are available online.

The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program thanks its alumni Fellows, donors, host companies, mentors, volunteers, and partners, including the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and Future Space Leaders.


The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization honoring the memory of an engineer, entrepreneur, and extraordinary individual whose passion for commercial space exploration led to great strides in the industry and inspired all who knew him. The Program seeks to instill that same enthusiasm into the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders by providing impactful career training to those who embody Matthew’s drive for exploring our universe to help better humankind. Ad Astra. 

Learn more at and on social media (@mattfellowship).

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.