2017 Hoffleit Scholarship winners announced

Left: Lena Komarova, Right: Jack Neustadt
June 5, 2017

2017 Dorrit Hoffleit Undergraduate Research Scholarship Winners

After a rigorous application process, the Yale Department of Astronomy is pleased to announce that the Dorrit Hoffleit Undergraduate Research Scholarship has been awarded to Lena Komarova and Jack Neustadt. This year, the Hoffleit Scholarship received 67 applicants from 25 countries and 12 states for an acceptance rate of 2.99%. The Hoffleit Scholarship includes a $450 per week salary, a housing stipend, a meal stipend, and up to $1000 for travel. Hoffleit Scholars work with a Yale Astronomy faculty member on a project.

The Dorrit Hoffleit Undergraduate Astronomy Research Fellowship at Yale is named in honor of Dr. E. Dorrit Hoffleit, a senior research astronomer at Yale who worked for more than fifty years in the University’s Department of Astronomy. She also served as director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island for over 20 years, where she ran summer programs for hundreds of students, many of whom went on to successful careers in astronomy. She was the author of the Bright Star Catalogue and the co-author of The General Catalogue of Trigonometric Stellar Parallaxes. In 1988, Hoffleit was awarded the George Van Biesbroeck Prize by the American Astronomical Society for a lifetime of service to astronomy. She lived for 100 years, and through her teaching and summer programs, she inspired a lifelong interest in Astronomy in thousands of young women and men.

Lena Komarova | Smith College

Lena Komarova is a rising junior at Smith College This summer, she will work on ram pressure stripping of star-forming regions in the Virgo cluster galaxies. Lena has worked on the project Modelling Scalar Fields in Inflationary Models of the Early Universe and has served as a learning and teaching assistant for introductory physics and astronomy classes. She is active in the Smith College Physics Club and Smith College Russian Club and enjoys reading Russian literature. Taking an astronomy class during her first year of college out of curiosity, Lena was fascinated by the material and decided to major in it. For her, astronomy symbolizes the centuries of humanity’s work to understand the universe and find its place in it. She is looking forward to work with astronomical data, a change in pace from the research in theoretical physics that she has been doing. She is excited to experience Yale’s libraries.

Jack Neustadt | Dartmouth College

Jack Neustadt is a 2017 graduate of Dartmouth College. This summer, he will work with Professor Marla Geha on stellar-mass black holes. Jack has served as a research assistant to Dartmouth professor Robert Fesen since he was a freshman, mostly on the study of galactic and extragalactic supernova remnants. He has extensive experience observing from the MDM Observatory in Kitt Peak, Arizona. Also at Dartmouth, Jack has served as a peer tutor and is active in the Dartmouth Physics Society, Dartmouth Standup Comics, and Dartmouth Japan Society. As a high schooler, he took after-school astronomy classes at the American Museum of Natural History in hopes of getting into the museum’s biology program. However, astronomy piqued his interest and he has been stargazing ever since. Jack’s previous research on supernova remnants is quite different from this summer’s research on black holes, something he says is intimidating but exciting.