Two Sibley School students chosen for Isakowitz Fellowship

Two Cornell Engineering students are among just 30 chosen nationally for the 2023 Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program.

Emily Matteson, a senior in Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Julia Proctor ’22, an M.Eng. student in the Sibley School, were selected from more than 250 applicants representing more than 90 colleges and universities.

Matteson and Proctor will receive paid internships at commercial space companies and one-on-one professional mentorship from accomplished members of the space community. In addition, they will participate in a summit with activities, speakers, and space industry guest attendees.

The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship was created in 2017 in memory of space engineer Matthew Isakowitz, who died that year at the age of thirty. It is open to college juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing a career in the commercial spaceflight industry. Proctor and Matteson are the fourth and fifth Cornellians to receive this honor.

Julia ProctorProctor, who earned her Bachelors in engineering physics at Cornell and is now working on her M.Eng. in Aerospace Engineering, will intern at the communications satellite company Astranis. As an undergrad Proctor was an aerodynamics engineer on the Cornell FSAE Racing student project team.

“I first heard about the Isakowitz Fellowship from Professor Savransky a few years ago. And then a mentor at my internship with ABL Space Systems brought it up again this summer,” Proctor said. “She was an alumna of the program and recommended it strongly. So I applied. And then I was at the Cornell-Harvard hockey game and got a call from Steven Isakowitz telling me I was one of the winners. It was so exciting and such an honor—I didn’t even care about the game after that.”

Matteson, whose internship will be with the space payload delivery company Impulse Space, is currently Chief Engineer for the Cislunar Explorers Research Team in the Space Systems Design Studio of Mason Peck, (the Stephen J. Fujikawa ’77 Professor of Astronautical Engineering), as well as a former subteam lead on the Cornell Rocketry student project team. She is also an alumna of the Cornell Engineering Leadership Certification Program and past winner of the Brooke Owens Fellowship placed at The Aerospace Corporation.

Emily Matteson“This is not only a chance to gain practical experience while interning at a cutting-edge space company, but it’s also an extraordinary opportunity to engage in conversations with space industry leaders, seek guidance and feedback, and gain exposure to other aspects of the space industry,” Matteson said. “I am deeply honored to have been chosen to honor the memory of Matthew Isakowitz, an aerospace engineer whose passion for space led to advancements in the commercial space industry. I hope to inspire all who know me just as Matthew inspired all who knew him.”

Sibley School Professor Dmitry Savransky knows Matteson and Proctor and is familiar with the Isakowitz Fellowship. “I am incredibly proud of both Emily and Julia--they are highly deserving of this opportunity and I expect them to do great things in their future careers,” Savransky said. “I think the fact that we've had multiple Isakowitz Fellowship recipients in the last few years is really a testament to the quality of our students.  Not only their outstanding academic performance, but their clear passion for the spaceflight industry.”

To Mason Peck, it is no accident that Cornell students are chosen for fellowships like the Matthew Isakowitz and the Brooke Owens. “Cornell’s students have had lots of success in aerospace. Our graduates include VPs at SpaceX, founders of space startups, and thought leaders in space technology at government and industry labs.  Cornell’s reputation, and that of our many students in this field, continue to reinforce one another. I expect that this newest generation of future leaders will continue that tradition.”


Learn more about the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program.

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