Makena Fetzer

  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2019

  • University of California Berkeley, Astrophysics, '20

  • Host Institution: Spire

  • Mentor: Patricia Cooper

Makena Fetzer is currently studying Astrophysics with a minor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Her fascination with the cosmos began on a childhood road trip to Lake Powell in Arizona. Removed from city lights, she saw her first clear sky exploding with stars of differing color and was forever hooked. Her early questions about what might exist beyond our atmosphere have since shaped her life and studies.

With the desire of one day venturing into space, she has been developing technical skills and experience to probe near space environments. As the High Altitude Balloon Team Lead for Berkeley’s student-run Space Technologies at Cal, she led a team that successfully designed and flight tested a novel payload bus and avionics system.

Her internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the Innovation to Flight Team reinforced her passion and understanding that high altitude ballooning is a cost-effective platform for performing meaningful near space research. It is her life goal to continue improving the accessibility to space through engineering and outreach.

At Berkeley, Makena participates in a number of other extracurricular endeavors. She performs data analysis of K2 Campaigns to understand survey bias. She is a passionate diver and member of SCUBA at Berkeley. Makena operates the 18-inch Treffers Telescope on Berkeley’s campus, serves as an undergraduate instructor for the popular introductory astronomy course, and co-facilitates a two-unit class that teaches python as a tool for astronomers. This year she also served on the executive board of Alpha Delta Pi sorority as the Recruitment and Marketing Vice President.

During the Summer of 2019, she will work with Spire’s Launch Team to contribute to their mission of launching data-collecting satellites that provide insights for any point on the earth 24/7.