By Les Morris
Carmel native Maya Mishra has been selected as a member of the 2022 class to receive a Brooke Owens Fellowship. The class of 51 undergraduates will spend the upcoming summer completing an internship with an aerospace company as they consider pursuing an eventual career in the field.
Mishra, a senior at Princeton University, will work at the Space Exploration Initiative, a division of MIT’s Media Lab, in Cambridge, Mass., this summer. Mishra graduated from Park Tudor High School in 2018 and is the daughter of Carmel residents Sanjay Mishra and Seema Verma.
The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of D. Brooke Owens, a pilot and industry pioneer who died in 2016 at age 35 after battling cancer. Its mission is to provide opportunities and access in the industry to “exceptional undergraduate women and gender-minority students in aerospace,” according to its website.
Mishra’s main interest is space medicine, and she plans to attend medical school a few years after beginning her business career.
“The mental challenges of exploration need to be explored more,” Mishra said. “I’m hoping to work on that this summer and some of the physical aspects as well.”
Mishra has long been interested in space exploration.
“I have a great scientific fascination,” she said. “I think outer space, in a couple of words, is really cool.”
Part of the selection process for the fellowship included reviews of the candidates’ commitment to their communities and record of leadership. Mishra has both, as she was active in student government at Park Tudor and is a peer academic and health advisor at Princeton, serving as a mentor to freshmen and sophomores.
“I’ve had a lot of great mentors in my life, and I think that’s important to pass on in whatever way I can,” Mishra said.
She wants her work to matter in practical ways, too.
“I think it’s important to make sure that whatever we do in space comes back to earth and has sustained benefits,” she said.