MIT Rocket Team Members

Leonard Tampkins
Title: President
Course: 16
Year: 2013
Bio: To the center of the sun!
Julian Lemus
Title: Treasurer
Course: 16
Year: 2013
Bio: Coming soon!
Jonathan Allen
Title: Team Member
Course: 16
Year: 2014
Bio: Jon is a student at MIT who is interested in robotics and small aerial vehicles. On the non-engineering side he is interested in economics and graphic design. He is from Los Angeles and already misses the beach. He is a member of the MIT ski team and in his free time he bakes (if you ask nicely he'll bake something for you). In high school, he participated in FIRST robotics and is looking forward to using MIT's machine shops.
Anna Ho
Title: Team Member
Course: 8
Year: 2014
Bio: Anna is a student at MIT, who was born in Singapore but has lived in London for the past eight years. Unfortunately, and not for lack of trying, she never picked up a British accent. She has always loved space and astronomy, and spent one summer observing an asteroid and calculating its orbit. She has a lot of other interests as well, and is currently thinking of double-majoring in Physics and Brain and Cognitive Science. In high school, her life revolved around FIRST Robotics, community service, and playing the piano and the trumpet. She loves Disney movies, and blogs for MIT admissions.
Jason Elizalde
Title: Team Member
Course: 16
Year: 2014
Bio: Jason is a student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. This is his third year on the rocket team, and he loves the hands on activities he performs, including composites, composites, composites (oh how they itch...). In his free time, Jason likes to sleep, play video games, dream of food, and loves to fall out of otherwise perfectly fine planes to experience the awesomeness that is skydiving!
Jed Story
Title: Team Member
Course: 16
Year: 2013
Bio: Jed started taking model rocketry classes when he was six, and that would come to define a large part of his life. He is now Tripoli Level 2 certified. He has a passion for engineering that he's combined with his passion for rockets here at MIT. Some of Jed's extracurricular activities include various research projects, Design/Build/Fly (DBF), and, of course, the MIT Rocket Team. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jed plans on pursuing graduate studies and later working for NASA or a private aerospace company.
Katherine Hobbs
Title: Team Member
Course: 16
Year: 2014
Bio: : Katherine knows absolutely nothing about rockets or aerospace but decided to major in course 16 so she can tell people she's a rocket scientist. She is also very interested in computer science although she knows nothing about that either. She joined rocket team to learn more about rocketry and to get hands on experience. She's also a member of Design/Build/Fly, The Society of Women Engineers, and The Figure Skating Club. One day Katherine wants to work for a private aerospace company.
Colleen Gabel
Title: Team Member
Course: 8
Year: 2015
Bio: Colleen Gabel is a freshman planning on studying physics and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT. She feels a little out-of-place as she's not in the Aero/Astro department, but loves rockets and space anyway. She is from Marblehead, MA, and is proud to call Boston home. When she can find rare free time, she likes to scuba dive, fish, and swim.
Kayla Esquivel
Title: Team Member
Course: 6
Year: 2015
Bio: Coming soon!
Norman Cao
Title: Webmaster
Course: 16, 8 and 18 minor
Year: 2015
Bio: Norman Cao is a student at MIT with experience in computers, artificial intelligence, and mathematics, but not rockets. Nonetheless, he is interested in becoming an MIT-educated rocket scientist (although other flying things are fine too). He has some experience building robots and balsa structures, but other than that is fairly clumsy with his hands. He hopes to build rockets and other cool things at his stay at MIT.
Henna Jethani
Course: 16
Year: 2014
Bio: Henna Jethani is a junior in Aerospace Engineering and Astronautics. In her quest to find aliens and further space tourism, she decided to join the rocket team. She enjoys working with composites and is excited to work on avionics and propulsion for this year’s USLI rocket. Henna is Level 1 certified by NAR and will hopefully be Level 2 certified by the end of the year. Henna also likes to play tennis, is a Camp Kesem counselor and a UROP student in the AeroAstro Nanocomposites labs.
Ben Mattinson
Course: 6
Year: 2016
Bio: Ben Mattinson is a freshman from Phoenix, Arizona who plans on studying Computer Science at MIT. During high school, Ben was on a FIRST robotics team, where he learned to machine parts, wire electric circuits, and code software. In his spare time, Ben enjoys hiking, skiing, and playing and composing music on guitar and piano.
Paco Holguin
Course: 8
Year: 2016
Bio: Paco is a freshman from Colorado who plans to major in physics and has an interest in computers. He has no prior experience with rockets, but is excited to learn as much as he can about them. His other interests include reading, playing games (both physical board games and video games), basketball, soccer, and snowboarding.
Matt Vernacchia
Course: 16
Year: 2015
Bio: Matt is from Pittsburgh, PA and is interested in developing robotics and autonomy for aerospace systems. Matt has loved flying things of all kinds since he was a small child. More recently, he spend the summer of 2012 working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, building a hand-gesture based interface for interaction with robots. Matt is a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and is on the MIT Sailing Team. When not tooling, coding or sailing, Matt enjoys hiking, exploring Boston, listening to indie rock, and eating spicy/exotic foodstuffs.
Aaron Ashley
Course: 8
Year: 2016
Bio: Aaron is student from Gretna, Nebraska who loves space exploration. He lead his high school’s TARC team to make qualification launches for the 2011 and 2012 competitions. He also attempted Level 1 certification from NAR with his MIT acceptance mailing tube. Aaron’s other interests include playing piano, concert band percussion, watching Star Trek, and learning about his Native American culture. One day, he wants to help send humans to Mars either through NASA or a private aerospace company.
Robert DeHate
Title: Team Mentor
Bio: Robert DeHate bought his first rocket kit in 1997 and things have escalated ever since. In 2003, he got his L3 certification and started working for Animal Motor Works. He builds his own recovery electronics and markets them as PICO altimeters, and is now also the president of AMW. He appeared on the short lived reality TV show Master Blasters, and flew a full scale 16" Patriot on an 08000 on the Discovery Science Channel in 2010. He has flown rockets to over 85,000' and over Mach 3, or nearly 3000Mph. The largest motor he's flown is a 6" diameter, 7' long P10,000, which has flown as the first stage in multiple minimum diameter 2 stage rockets that have flown out of the troposphere. In his spare time he builds rockets.