Co-President: Amit Kothekar

Aerospace Engineering: Undergraduate, Junior

Amit Kothekar is studying Aerospace Engineering and is from New York City. His main interest is in space systems with a concentration in space dynamics and propulsion systems. Amit joined SEDS as a freshman and was the SEDS co-outreach chair before becoming co-president. Amit is also on the AIAA outreach committee. He is focused on expanding interest in STEM fields and is very enthusiastic about helping others learn and gain interest in the aerospace discipline. After graduating from Michigan, he hopes to dive into the mission oriented aerospace industry or defense industry. In his free time, Amit likes to play/watch soccer, listen to music and travel.


Co-President: Alexander Sena

Aerospace Engineering: Undergraduate, Junior

Alexander Sena is a junior studying Aerospace Engineering from New York City. He joined SEDS in the fall semester of 2015 as an outreach committee member before becoming co-outreach coordinator in the following semester. Before coming to the University, he worked for two years at the New York Hall of Science. He intends to pursue any career that will push humanity further into the stars. In his free time, Alex enjoys reading comics, watching movies, and watching movies about comics.


Vice President: Ari Sandberg

Aerospace Engineering: Undergraduate, Senior

Ari Sandberg is an aerospace engineering major with a passion for public policy. She aims to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the general public, making technical concepts interesting and accessible to more than just the select few. At the University of Michigan, she is a research assistant in Professor James Cutler’s Michigan Exploration Laboratory, where she fabricates solar panels for CubeSat satellites. On the side, Ari seeks out opportunities to advocate for and represent the scientific community, specifically through the written word. Last year, Ari interned at Michigan Radio (a local NPR-affiliate) reporting on entrepreneurship and tech development in Michigan. In May 2015, Ari traveled to Washington D.C. where she addressed members of Congress to advocate for continued NASA funding. During summer 2015, Ari interned for the CU-Boulder Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department revitalizing their web content and writing articles that demonstrate the vitality and interconnectivity of the Colorado atmospheric and aerospace research communities.


Speaker of the House: Alan Rosenthal

Aerospace Engineering: Undergraduate, Senior

Alan Rosenthal is a senior in aerospace engineering from Dallas, Texas. Having joined SEDS as a junior, he is currently the projects chair and leads the Fission Reactor for In Space Applications team. Outside of school, he enjoys riding bikes and backpacking.

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Secretary: Christopher Bert

Space Science – Heliophysics: Graduate Student, PhD

This fall marks Chirstopher’s first year as a PhD student at the University of Michigan. He is studying space science, particularly the solar wind and its interaction with the planets. Though he did not discover SEDS while completing his undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, it drew him in immediately after arriving in Michigan (fall 2017) for his masters in space systems engineering. SEDS has been a phenomenal outlet for his passion for all things space!
He grew up in Massachusetts (northwest of Boston), but the MidWest is rapidly becoming home, at least for the next few years. Beyond his academic pursuits, he is an Eagle Scout and a dedicated musician. Though graduate school affords no time for marching band, he continues to play saxophone, clarinet, and some flute with community jazz ensembles.
Why space?
He believes that the future of humanity lies in space, both in terms of infrastructure that will benefit the Earth and of future settlement beyond the gravity well. In addition, space is an enormously exciting frontier for scientific investigation. For example, studying the solar wind is not just really cool because it helps build the capability to forecast space whether. It also provides insight into basic plasma physics, which plays a big role in big things like the development of nuclear fusion or something as mundane as designing energy efficient light bulbs. Space exploration can so often be a driver for science and engineering across the board, not to mention inspire new art and economics, and all it takes is for someone to say “hey, space is cool” and then decide to pursue it.
Where would you go if you could go to space?
A peak of eternal light (probably on the Moon)


Social Chair: Tasha A Gillum

Industrial & Operations Engineering: Graduate Student

Tasha is originally from northern Illinois. She did her undergrad at University of Michigan, and now she is back for her masters to study human factors. As social chair, she plans social and community events like Yuri’s night. She loves space and science fiction. This summer, she interned at NASA Langley where she analyzed eye tracking data of pilots. In her free time, when she’s not trying to go to Mars, she likes to dance, swim, or watch Star Trek with her friends.
Why space?
Because out there, there is always more to learn and explore.
Where would you go if you could go to space?
Dark side of the moon (for star gazing)


Alumni Chair: Megan Avery

Aerospace Engineering: Undergraduate, Senior

Megan is a senior undergraduate student studying Space Sciences and Engineering. She joined SEDS at UM as their Alumni chair in her sophomore year and works to keep SEDS alumni involved in the organization as well as the chapter’s current members. Megan also currently plays Euphonium in the Michigan Marching Band, and assists with research in UM’s Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department.


Webmaster: Cindy Zhou

Computer Science: Undergraduate, Junior

Cindy is currently a junior studying Computer Science at the University of Michigan. She is from New York City. She joined SEDS her freshman year as part of outreach and became the Webmaster for the following year. She enjoys watching tv and movies.
Why space?
She thought she wanted to become an astronaut at a young age, after she wrote a non-fiction book for her second grade class. But as she got older, she realize it was more of the whole history of the Space Race that fascinated her, especially how quickly man seem to advance in technology in such a short period of time.
Where would you go if you could go to space?
She thinks she’s too scared to go to space now after learning about the amount of radiation that is out there.



Arun Nagpal

Electrical Engineering: Senior

“Arun Nagpal is from Grand Blanc, MI. He’s a senior in Electrical Engineering, whose research interests include holography and optical metasurfaces. In addition to working on the SEDS Blog, he also writes about science and technology for Consider, a campus magazine.

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Emily Judd

Climate and Space Science and Engineering: Graduate Student

Emily first got involved with SEDS as an undergrad at the University of Central Florida. Rocketry projects piqued her interests in studying aerospace structures and materials, which led to several research internships, including one at NASA Langley. After serving as the 2015-2016 SEDS-USA Chair of the Council of Chapters, she is now learning more about space science in the CLaSP department here at UM, where she is investigating planetary upper atmospheres.
Why space?
She would like to travel to Mars, but she would really like to send more spacecraft to Venus!
Where would you go if you could go to space?
The space industry is exciting in that as we explore space and develop the technologies needed to do so, we can create better lives for the people here on Earth. After all, it is rocket science!

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