National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Rebecca M. Arvanites

Rebecca M. ArvanitesMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
Bachelor of Science, June 2007

NASA Academy Research Project

Mars Exploration Rover Vision Data Analysis: Dust Concentration of Mars Dust Devils


I grew up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts when I was little, and then Providence, Rhode Island where I went to a Quaker middle and high school. I didn’t think about going into aeronautical engineering until I got to college and happened to take a tour of the aero/astro labs during orientation. When I saw the cool projects that students in the department were building, like model helicopters and propeller airplanes, I decided to change my major from biology to aero/astro engineering.


Last summer I also worked at NASA, as a Summer Aerospace Workforce Development Research Internship Program (SAWDRIP) intern at Goddard Space Flight Center, doing systems engineering work on the James Webb Space Telescope. It was a great experience learning about NASA, how large programs are managed, and the amazing science that JWST will be used for (looking farther than Hubble in space and time, to see the first light that was formed in the universe).

I have done several research projects at MIT as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at MIT. One project was working on the BioSuit Project in the MIT Man Vehicle Lab, which is an effort to redesign the currently gas-pressurized spacesuit to apply pressure by elastic materials, so that it is more maneuverable and less prone to pressure leakage. It was a fun project, since I got to design testing procedures and then try them out on my advisors, and myself, in an 80% atmospheric pressure vacuum chamber. Another research project was the NASA-sponsored In-Situ Resource Utilization University Design Competition, which the MIT team won in 2005 for our design of a system to excavate lunar regolith and extract oxygen from it.

Extra-Curricular Activities

During my senior year, I was involved with several student groups on campus, including organizing events as a Career Development Chair for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Social Chair for MIT’s chapter of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE). I also coordinated my small dorm orchestra and worked at the MIT Admissions Office. My hobbies are going to the beach, travelling, playing tennis, and playing the viola.