Charlotte Minsky

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. I plan to pursue a research career studying exoplanets, and also important to me are diversity, teaching and outreach, accessibility, and social justice.


Astronomy & Planetary Science

TESS Light Curve Vetting

MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics

  • Analyzing light curves from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to differentiate planet candidates from other astrophysical phenomena or instrumental noise
  • Only undergraduate on the team of 24 vetters

January 2019 - Present

Asteroid Light Curve Construction

MIT EAPS Department and Wallace Observatory

  • Observed main-belt asteroid (2713) Luxembourg as an individual project within an optical astronomy project class
  • Constructed a light curve to determine its period and shape
  • Results will contribute to an ongoing study of Koronis-family asteroids' spin axis orientations

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 select 300 candidates with planet-like spectral indices from a 100,000-source catalogue

October 2016 - August 2017

History

Book on the Iranian Green Uprisings

MIT History Department and Cambridge University Press

  • Edited and indexed Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings, a book about the 2009 Green Uprisings in Iran by Pouya Alimagham to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019
  • Conducted primary source research for related conference papers

July 2018 - Present

Digital Humanities Project Management

MIT Digital Humanities Lab

  • Managed a team that analyzed gendered language in a digitized corpus of 19th-century English literature
  • Oversaw workflow, contributed code, and coordinated with data collection and vizualization teams

September - December 2018

MIT & Slavery Research

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 totalling one thousand, and national press.

September 2017 - June 2018

Teaching & Outreach

MIT Prison Education Initiative

  • Co-founded and am now president of the MIT Prison Education Initiative
  • Increasing educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals by developing curricula to be taught in prisons, inviting formerly incarcerated speakers to campus, and guiding students through the prison volunteering process

December 2017 - Present

History Guest Teacher

MIT History Department

  • Guest taught for 21H.160 Islam, the Middle East, and the West and 21H.261 Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution, courses in the MIT History Department offered for undergraduates and some graduate students

October 2018

Intro to Astronomy TA

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

A Voice of Her Own: Debate and Public Speaking Camp

Stoneleigh-Burnham School

  • Coached middle and high school girls of all levels in debate and public speaking
  • Prepared several students for successful competition in international tournaments
  • Supervised program participants 24/7 as a residential counselor

Summers 2016 & 2017

Other Interests

I am a campus leader and member of several organizations, including:

  • Queer West (President), an LGBTQ+ community and advocacy group
  • Addir (Fellow), an interfaith dialogue and bridge-building program
  • Discover Ocean Engineering (Mentor), a pre-orientation program for freshmen
In the past, I've also been involved with:

  • Yes on 3 (Volunteer), a successful campaign for transgender rights legislation in Massachusetts
  • Makerlodge (Mentor, Secretary), an undergraduate-run machine shop and makerspace
  • The Tech (Meteorologist), MIT's student newspaper for which I occasionally write punny weather predictions
And finally, I am committed to academic service through my participation in two Institute Committees by nomination:

  • MacVicar Faculty Fellowship Advisory Committee
  • Subcommittee on the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement

In my free time, 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-1-inspired Christmas ornaments.