Two Media Lab Students Among the Recipients of the Inaugural Amazon Robotics Fellowships


Gretchen Ertl

Gretchen Ertl

by Alexandra Kahn

Aug. 9, 2021


The Fellowships are aimed at helping students from underrepresented backgrounds establish careers in robotics, engineering, computer science, and related fields. 

Amazon Robotics recently announced six initial recipients of the Amazon Robotics Day One Fellowship, a program established to help students from underrepresented backgrounds pursue master of science degrees at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. 


Glynis Condon

The recipients, including incoming Media Lab master’s students Samantha Gutiérrez Arango and Raechel Walker, will receive fully funded Fellowships in robotics, engineering, computer science, and related fields that will cover tuition, living expenses, and other costs.

Fellowship recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in Amazon Robotics’ internship program, and engage in networking and mentorship opportunities through a partnership with Black in Robotics (BiR). Additionally, they will be encouraged to reach out to their peers in the Day One program, regardless of where they go to school, to find opportunities to share experiences, consult with one another, and collaborate on projects.

While the first year’s cohort comprises six students, there are plans to expand the program by an additional six fellows next year. 

Fellowship recipients at the Media Lab


Samantha Gutiérrez Arango

Samantha Gutiérrez Arango: Gutiérrez Arango will be studying in the MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics group, led by Professor Hugh Herr. She has worked at MIT as a senior research support associate on a new surgical procedure for amputees. Prior to MIT, she worked at Northeastern University, studying the behavioral effects of interactive media on children. She did an internship at Yale Child Study Center applying Human Computer Interaction tools to research Autism Spectrum Disorder. Samantha completed her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey, México, and is an active member of the MIT Colombian Association leading activities to empower Latino women in the STEM field.


Raechel Dionne Walker

Raechel Walker: Walker will pursue a master's degree in the MIT Media Lab's Personal Robots group, led by Professor Cynthia Breazeal. She majored in data science at the University of California, San Diego and worked as a computer science researcher at Laurel Riek's Healthcare Robotics Lab. In that role she created robotics curriculum for homebound students and designed inclusive user interfaces for those children to use telepresence robots at schools. She is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and worked as a data science researcher in Michael Davidson's Energy Justice Lab.

Fellowship recipients at Harvard University and Stanford University 

Aaron Brown, Stanford: Brown is pursuing a master’s of science in mechanical engineering.  

Christopher Croft, Harvard: Croft will pursue a master’s of science in data science.  

Bianca Jurewicz, Stanford: Jurewicz will pursue a master’s in mechanical engineering. 

Ivonne Martinez, Harvard: Martinez will pursue a master’s degree in data science. 

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