2019 Winners of Prestigious Hoffleit Research Fellowship Announced

Mon, 06/03/2019

After a rigorous application process, the Yale Department of Astronomy is pleased to announce that the Dorrit Hoffleit Undergraduate Research Scholarship has been awarded Alyssa Cassity and Mikhail Sharov. This year, the Hoffleit Scholarship received 61 applicants from 24 countries and 10 states. 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 research project.

The Dorrit Hoffleit Undergraduate Astronomy Research Scholarship 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.

Alyssa Cassity, who will be a Senior at Smith College in the fall, hails from North Ogden, Utah. Besides astronomy, her passions are reading, cooking, and hiking Utah’s mountains and national parks. Her long-term goals are a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and a career in research, teaching, and science outreach, particularly to women and minorities.  Her interest in astronomy was inspired by Utah’s dark skies and her first astronomy class where she learned about pioneering women astronomers such as Maria Mitchell and Celia Payne-Gaposchkin.  While at Yale, Alyssa will be investigating an ultra-luminous x-ray pulsar with Professor Charles Bailyn.

Mikhail Sharov is a rising Junior at Boston University. Mikhail was born in Cheboksary, Russia and moved to the U.S. as a young child.   His current hometown is Sharon, Massachusetts.  His favorite non-astronomical activity is hiking, and in 2020, he will travel to Tanzania and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! Mikhail has been interested in astronomy his whole life, fueled in part by Carl Sagan and other astronomy popularizers. While at B. U. he has pursued an Astrophysics major, and has done research in planetary science, which he hopes to continue as a career. During his Hoffleit Scholarship, he will be working with Professor Debra Fischer on exoplanets.