Originally founded by students at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, STARS now holds an interdisciplinary focus aimed at helping students in business, engineering, robotics, computer science, and other fields to find opportunities and cultivate relationships in the growing commercial space industry. 

 

We believe the industry will see rapid expansion in the years to come. While the commercial space industry is primarily comprised of a vast array of satellite technologies that have transformed modern life, from GPS and telecommunications to weather prediction and surveillance, the next phase of the space economy has already begun.  This era will be brightly marked by commercial successes in launch,  low-earth orbit, private landings on the lunar surface, and manned missions to the international space station and beyond.

The age of the nation-state monopoly on human spaceflight is quickly coming to a close. The growth of the space economy will not be achieved by governments alone, but through public-private partnerships that provide enhanced service to state and commercial customers.  Our future in space requires a new generation of innovative business and technical leaders with the skills to make space operations more profitable, more effective, and more accessible, all while maintaining the utmost standards of safety. STARS exists to find those leaders and connect them with companies and resources that will help them excel.

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BOARD MEMBERS

Rohil Bhargava

President

Rohil grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before moving to Chicago to pursue his BS in Industrial Engineering & Economics at Northwestern University. During his time there, he spent a lot of his time at Dearborn Observatory, and was a member of NewSpace Chicago, a non-profit dedicated to growing the space industry in the Chicagoland area. After spending 3 years in industry as a consultant and product manager, he came to Tepper to pursue his MBA. At Tepper, Rohil is involved with the MoonRanger project, a lunar rover set to explore the south pole of the Moon for ice in late 2023, and has won awards at NASA's annual hackathon. As president of STARS, he is looking to bridge the gap between Tepper students and space initiatives around CMU's campus that are in need of business-minded individuals.

Bobby Gower

VP of Education and Social

Bobby holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a private pilot’s license. After Lehigh, he joined Air Products and Chemicals where he worked in a variety of engineering roles focusing on everything from design, manufacturing operations, to IT. His passion for aviation and engineering has brought him to STARS, where hopes to inspire his fellow classmates for an interest in the space industry. After Tepper he plans to combine his engineering expertise with a newfound business mindset to move a highly technical industry forward. In his free time he enjoys running, travelling, trying new restaurants, and volunteering.

Benjamin Mangefrida

VP of Innovation

Ben holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Economics from American University. For the first part of his career, he worked in business analytics for a startup CPG firm in DC, and then went to work in the finance department at the American Institute of Physics, where he became interested in space exploration and science policy. Ben's focus at Tepper is on strategy and business analytics, and he plans to pursue a career in consulting with a special interest toward scientific nonprofits and the space industry.

Takafumi Shimazaki

VP of Finance

Takafumi is an investment banker from Japan. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Waseda University in Japan. After graduating from university, he joined a Japanese securities brokerage firm, where he worked in retail investment sales, and then in investment banking as sector coverage for infrastructure (construction, housing, transportation, logistics) clients, underwriting stocks and bonds, and offering M&A advisory. After graduating from Tepper, he hopes to get involved in the aerospace industry in investment banking as a sector coverage. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, photography and traveling.

Jason DiVenere

VP of Corporate Outreach

After attending space camp three times, Jason went on to earn a B.S. in Business Administration and a Minor in Physics from Carnegie Mellon, and completed Pre-Med at Georgetown University. He is currently working towards his MBA and plans to apply it to space-related endeavors post-graduation. Prior to his return to Carnegie Mellon, Jason earned his private pilots license and spent five years working as an aerospace engineer at Scaled Composites, helping to design, build and test Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Currently, Jason is the CEO of a management company he founded in 2016, based in Malibu, California. When not working or studying, Jason enjoys finding creative ways to earn airline miles and credit card points through excessive travel, taking fun trips to spend said miles, sustainable energy (especially electric cars), 3D printing and spending time with his wife, 2 year old son, infant daughter, and dog.

Jen MacDonald

VP of Media

Jen is a software engineer from the Bay Area in California. She graduated from UCLA with degrees in Cognitive Science and Data Science Engineering, and currently works at a startup focused on using AI for waste management in the supply chain. She hopes to use her knowledge to develop sustainable technology and practices in the space industry. In her free time, Jen enjoys reading, eating spicy food, and petting dogs.

Michelle Fremuth

VP of Part-Time Coordination

Michelle is a Global Master Black Belt for Anheuser-Busch InBev, and holds a B.S.E. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Environmental Sustainability. Her career has taken her from Philadelphia to Houston to St. Louis, and each role has deepened her passion for problem solving, continuous improvement methodologies, and data analysis. Michelle has always loved space, and had the opportunity to attend space camp as a child. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, aerial arts, fossil preparation, and autocross racing.

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