Charlotte Minsky

cminsky@mit.edu · 617-501-0300

I am a junior at MIT studying Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science with a concentration in Astronomy & Planetary Science. I'm also pursuing a joint major in Computer Science and History, and am particularly interested in 20th-century Middle Eastern history. I plan to pursue a research career studying exoplanets, and I think advocating for diversity and accessibility in academia is important.


Astronomy & Planetary Science

I am fascinated by space, planets, and specifically: exoplanets. I've taken courses in geophysics, optical astronomy, climate dynamics, exoplanet detection, data science and AI, atmospheric chemistry, and more. I come from a multidisciplinary background and I'm excited to approach exoplanet research with my knowledge of both astronomy observation and data analysis techniques, and the science of planetary interiors and atmospheres.

Asteroid Light Curve Construction

MIT EAPS Department and Wallace Observatory

Conducted optical observations of the main-belt asteroid 2713 Luxembourg and determined an updated rotation rate and first-order shape estimate. Light curve data will contribute to an ongoing study of Koronis-family asteroid spin axis orientations being conducted at MIT.

September - December 2018

Finding Planet 9

MIT EAPS Department: Weiss Lab

Cross-matched archival radio catalogues to search for a theorized outer solar system planet. Wrote Python software to filter 300 candidates with planet-like spectra from a 100,000-source catalogue.

October 2016 - August 2017

Asteroid Orbit Determination

Summer Science Program

Conducted obtical observations of near-Earth asteroid 4055 Magellan and determined its orbital parameters at a astrophysics summer research program for high school students. Submitted data to the Minor Planet Center.

June 2015 - August 2015

History

Learning, researching, and writing history has informed my ability to differentiate compelling research questions from "stamp-collecting", and to craft cogent narratives. I think that the processes of knowledge creation and scientific investigation are never isolated from their social, cultural, economic, and political contexts, so I am committed to investigating our place in history and encouraging other MIT students to do the same.

Contesting the Iranian Revolution

MIT History Department and Cambridge University Press

Edited and indexed Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings, a forthcoming book by MIT History professor Pouya Alimagham to be published by Cambridge University Press. Conducted primary source research for several related conference papers.

July 2018 - present

Digital Humanities project management

MIT Digital Humanities Lab

Project Manager for the Analysis team at the MIT Digital Humanities lab, studying patterns in gendered language in 19th-century novels. Overseeing workflow, contributing code, and coordinating with Data and Visualization teams.

October 2018 - present

MIT & Slavery

MIT History Department and Institute Archives

Researched MIT’s relationship to the Southern Reconstruction economy from 1861-1887 as an individual research project within a pilot class investigating MIT’s historical relationship with slavery and its legacies. Presented findings to MIT's president, a live and online audience of one thousand, and national press.

September 2017 - June 2018

Teaching & Outreach

In second grade, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, and I never lost my love of tutoring and teaching. In 2017, I TA'ed a class in prison, and since then I've become more passionate about outreach, and especially about advocating for incarcerated individuals' access to education. I intend to maintain my involvement with teaching and outreach throughout my career.

MIT Prison Education Initiative co-founder

Co-founded and am president of the MIT Prison Education Initiative, which works to increase education opportunities for incarcerated individuals and raise awareness within the MIT community about the criminal justice system. We help facilitate MIT students tutoring and TA-ing in local prisons, develop new curricula to be taught, and bring formerly incarcerated speakers to campus.

December 2017 - present

Astronomy TA for prisoners

MIT Educational Justice Institute and Petey Greene Program

TA'ed for Intro to Astronomy at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk, a medium-security prison. Helped teach basic astronomy concepts and problem-solving to incarcerated individuals pursuing college degrees through the Boston University Prison Education Program.

September - December 2017

Teaching makerspace skills

MIT MakerLodge

Trained MIT students and staff on machine shop and makerspace skills, such as laser cutting, 3D printing, and basic woodworking. Prototyped new training projects and developed training materials. Managed logistics and secretarial duties for the training process and machine shop administrative structure.

June 2017 - June 2018

Debate & Public Speaking Coach

Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Coached at A Voice of Her Own, a debate and public speaking summer program for middle and high school students. Worked with a variety of skill levels, from students who struggled to speak at all in front of a group to experienced debaters who I prepared for international competitions.

Summers 2016 & 2017

Educational videos about genetics

Harvard University and Broad Institute

Wrote and produced educational videos about genome sequencing and genotyping as an intern for the FAS Center for Systems Biology's Sabeti Lab. These videos were geared towards empowering women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

June - August 2013

Other Interests

I am a proud resident of and former social chair for J Entry, MacGregor House's finest murder-mystery-throwing, inter-floor-battling, family-style living group. Sometimes I write punny weather predictions for The Tech, MIT's student newspaper. I'm the president of Queer West, one of the LGBTQ+ student groups on campus, and an Addir Interfaith Dialogue fellow. I think having undergraduate voices in the MIT administration is important, so I'm a representative on the MacVicar Faculty Fellowship Advisory Committee and the Subcommittee on the Humanities Requirement, both by nomination.

I'm a constant listener of podcasts, and once changed my course schedule so that I could see a Wait Wait Don't Tell Me live show (don't tell). I can also be found playing the piano and occasionally other instruments, sampling Boston's various pho vendors, hiking in the gorgeous hills of New England, and making TRAPPIST-inspired Christmas ornaments.