Alexei Smith ’19 has known what she’s wanted out of life since high school, and at the University of Colorado Boulder, she’s one step closer to achieving her dream.
This month, Smith will begin pursuing her master’s degree in aerospace engineering at CU Boulder. Having long aspired to work in engineering spacecraft and aircraft, she considers her acceptance to the master’s program “an honor.” Smith noted that the university is one of the top schools for aerospace engineering and has one of the highest rates of alumni who go on to become astronauts. “If I ever wanted to be an astronaut, it’s the best place for me to be,” she said.
Hometown: Putnam Valley, N.Y.
High School: Putnam Valley High School
But Smith’s main passion remains engineering. “What I really want — my end goal for my life — is to work on integrating renewable technology into existing spacecraft and aircraft. . . . There’s not really anyone doing what I want to do yet, not even at CU Boulder, but I’m hoping I can find someone who can help me develop that thought a little bit more,” she said.
At Hamilton, Smith involved herself in space-related clubs while completing her physics major. She worked at the observatory and led both the Hamilton Space Society and the Society of Physics Students. As an executive board member of the Society of Physics Students, she helped organize sending a high-altitude balloon into the upper part of the atmosphere.
During the fall semester of her junior year, Smith studied abroad with the Iceland: Climate Change and the Arctic SIT program. She traveled throughout Iceland and Greenland learning about the impacts of climate change on various communities and new sustainable technologies. She spent the last few weeks of her program developing her own research project, in which she focused on engineering and examined the creation and effects of a wind tunnel in Iceland. Throughout her semester abroad, she fostered the passion for renewable energy that she now plans to implement in her career.
Before leaving for school, Smith spent part of her summer teaching children and teenagers at the Youth, Arts, and Technology Program at Westchester Community College. She enjoyed teaching both coding and robotics to youth, calling her teaching experience “a lot of fun.”