• Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018

  • Yale University, Astrophysics and Anthropology, '20

  • Host Institution: Bryce Space and Technology

  • Mentor: Rebecca Spyke Keiser

Sam Berek is a student at Yale University double majoring in Astrophysics and Anthropology. The sense of wonder she feels when stargazing convinced her at a young age to dedicate her life to the advancement of human knowledge of our solar system and larger universe. 

In college, Sam has conducted research studying RR Lyrae variable stars to search for Milky Way dwarf galaxies and globular clusters. She also works as a course grader for the math department and volunteers as a curriculum director for an organization that teaches cooking and nutrition classes to low-income high school students. In her free time, Sam enjoys her position as the community outreach chair of the beekeeping club Bee Space, and last year was a Production & Design Editor of the Yale Daily News. When not at school, she spends time working at a bird-banding MAPS station, catching and cataloging grassland songbirds.

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Sam spent her summer at Bryce Space and Technology conducting an analysis for NASA’s Center Innovation Fund (CIF). She contributed to two papers resulting from the analysis, which sought to discover early indicators of success and accurate measures of innovation for early stage technology projects funded by CIF.