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Announcing the Brooke Owens Fellowship Class of 2021

Press Release From: Brooke Owens Fellowship
Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Brooke Owens Fellowshipa nationally-acclaimed nonprofit organization recognizing exceptional undergraduate women and other gender minorities with space and aviation internships, senior mentorship, and a lifelong professional networkannounced its newest class of Brooke Owens Fellows today.


The Class of 2021 marks the fifth class of “Brookie” Fellows and were selected from the Fellowship’s most competitive application year. More than 800 promising and talented students applied from Ivy League universities, major research universities, historically black colleges and universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and major international universities. Forty-four Fellows were selected through a competitive application process involving written and creative submissions, interviews with the Fellowship’s volunteer-based leadership team and its close network, and interviews with the Host Companies. The selected Fellows have demonstrated their desire to pursue a career in aerospace, a record of leadership, a commitment to their communities, and their inexhaustible creativity.


The Brooke Owens Fellows will be matched to an executive-level mentor committed to helping the Fellows launch their careers. This summer, the Fellows will start their internships and come together virtually for the annual Brooke Owens Summit. Like last year, the Fellowship commits to providing these experiences even if the Covid-19 pandemic continues through the summer. The Class of 2021 will also become part of the network of more than 150 Brookie alumnae spanning all aspects of space and aviation including engineering, scientific research, policy, journalism, and entrepreneurship. Some of these alumnae join the Fellowship as Alumnae Volunteers to foster the next generation of Brooke Owens Fellows.


The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of beloved industry pioneer and accomplished pilot D. Brooke Owens, who passed away in June 2016 at the age of 35, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. The program was co-founded by Lori Garver, the former Deputy Administrator of NASA and now CEO of Earthrise Alliance; Cassie Lee, Advanced Programs Lead for Weather and Remote Sensing at Lockheed Martin Space; and William Pomerantz, the Vice President for Special Projects at Virgin Orbit. The Brooke Owens Fellowship celebrates its 5-year mission and legacy of disrupting the historical gender imbalance in the aerospace industry by continuing its mission to provide opportunities and access to talented young professionals from historically-underrepresented genders. 


This past year, as organizations across the United States underwent long-overdue and necessary reflection into the historical marginalization of racial groups, the Brooke Owens Fellowship underwent a change in leadership bringing on new perspectives. Garver stepped down from the Executive Team in June 2020 and was recently recognized with the WIA Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the program. Three new leaders were welcomed to the Executive Team: Diana Trujillo, aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Caroline Juang, Ph.D. student at Columbia University; and Kayla Watson, System Reliability Engineer at Amazon Prime Air. Meanwhile, Pomerantz co-founded the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship in October 2020 to introduce Black and African-American undergraduate students to their first aerospace internship, and now he leads both sister Fellowships. The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship is the second Fellowship program modeled after the Brooke Owens Fellowship, joining the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program as a spinoff sister program.


Together, the 5-person Brooke Owens Fellowship Executive Team led the selection for this year’s Fellows. Reflecting on the latest class, Lee says, “The Brooke Owens Fellowship Executive Team is thrilled to welcome our Class of 2021. As we celebrate our fifth year of the Fellowship we extend our sincere gratitude to all of the Host companies, Mentors, donors, applicants, alums, and supporters who have made this program and our two spinoffs an extraordinary success.”


The 2021 Brooke Owens Fellows are:


  • Aarti Patel, a Senior studying Mechanical Engineering at University of Pittsburgh. Patel will work at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense in Arlington, VA.

  • Catherine Dominic, a Sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Texas Austin. Dominic will work at Amazon Prime Air in Seattle, WA.

  • Ava Badii, a Senior studying Astronautical Engineering at University of Southern California. Badii will work at Astranis in San Francisco, CA.

  • Sofia Martinez, a Junior studying Applied Math at Harvard University. Martinez will work at Avascent in Washington, D.C.

  • Katrina Ternus, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Ternus will work at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO.

  • Janay Bombino, a Senior studying Materials Science Engineering at University of California Irvine. Bombino will work at Ball Aerospace.

  • Grace Antonucci, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. Antonucci will work at Blue Origin in Seattle, WA.

  • Kristen Ahner, a Junior studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Ahner will work at The Boeing Company in El Segundo, CA.

  • Alisa Webb, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Rice University. Webb will work at The Boeing Company in Cape Canaveral, FL.

  • Grace Ryan, a Sophomore studying Business Analytics and Computer Science at University of Notre Dame. Ryan will work at Bryce Space and Technology in Alexandria, VA.

  • Hannah Duke, a Junior studying Physics at Duke University. Duke will work at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

  • Evelyn Chin, a Freshman studying Computer Science at Pasadena City College. Chin will work at Draper in Cambridge, MA.

  • Giselle Koo, a Junior studying Electrical & Computer Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. Koo will work at HawkEye360 in Herndon, VA.

  • Catherine Liu, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Liu will work at Hermeus Corp. in Atlanta, GA.

  • Shreyasvi Gowda, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University. Gowda will work at Joby Aviation in Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Megan Jow, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at University of California Davis. Jow will work at Joby Aviation in Santa Cruz, CA.

  • Kinga Wrobel, a Junior studying Systems Engineering & Design at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Wrobel will work at Lockheed Martin Advanced Programs.

  • Marlene Escobedo, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Escobedo will work at Lockheed Martin Advanced Programs in Littleton, CO.

  • Sarah Lappin, a Senior studying Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at University of Edinburgh. Lappin will work at Loft Orbital in San Francisco, CA.

  • Isabel Hunt, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Temple University. Hunt will work at Made In Space.

  • Solteria Ross, a Senior studying Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. Ross will work at Made In Space in Jacksonville, FL.

  • An-Ya Olson, a Junior studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Olson will work at Maxar Technologies in Westminster, CO.

  • Nicole Swatton, a Junior studying Electrical Engineering at Arizona State University. Swatton will work at Millenium Space Systems in El Segundo, CA.

  • Erica McNamee, a Junior studying Chemical Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. McNamee will work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

  • Madeleine “Mac” Gagné, a Senior studying Mathematically Applied Strategy at Duke University. Gagné will work at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

  • Frances “Harriet” Hunt, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Hunt will work at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

  • Rut Santana, a Sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus. Santana will work at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems in Dulles, VA.

  • Jessica Kuleshov, a Junior studying Computer Science at Columbia University in the City of New York. Kuleshov will work at Planet in San Francisco, CA.

  • Marie Wulff, a Senior studying Electrical Engineering at University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Wulff will work at Planet in San Francisco, CA.

  • Maria Callas, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. Callas will work at Rocket Lab in Long Beach, CA.

  • Lauren Adachi, a Junior studying Electrical Engineering at Brown University. Adachi will work at Sierra Nevada Corporation in Colorado.

  • Annabelle Gao, a Sophomore studying Geochemistry at Brown University. Gao will work at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

  • Madeleine Pollack, a Junior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Pollack will work at Space Capital in New York City, NY.

  • Zoe Brand, a Sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Brand will work at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA.

  • TaNia Donatto, a Sophomore studying Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Donatto will work at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA.

  • Andrea “Andy” de Fonseca, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. de Fonseca will work at Stratolaunch in Mojave, CA.

  • Jordan Fuse, a Senior studying Mechanical Engineering at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Fuse will work at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA.

  • Emily Ku, a Senior studying Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Ku will work at The Spaceship Company in Mojave, CA.

  • Catherine Spivey, a Senior studying Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University. Spivey will work at United Launch Alliance in Centennial, CO.

  • Christine Ohenzuwa, a Sophomore studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Ohenzuwa will work at Virgin Galactic in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

  • Jasmin Chadha, a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. Chadha will work at Virgin Orbit in Long Beach, CA.

  • Madeleine Meier, a Sophomore studying Finance at Georgetown University. Meier will work at Voyager Space Holdings in Denver, CO.

  • Leslie Baker Lyon, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University. Lyon will work at XPRIZE in Culver City, CA.

  • Estefania Castillo Villarreal, a Senior studying Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering and Economics at University of Notre Dame. Castillo Villarreal will work at Zipline in San Francisco, CA.

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