Those interested in the unknown mysteries and possibilities of space have a few things in common: curiosity, courage and humility. Unfortunately, in the past, career opportunities in such fields favored other commonalities like gender and race. But organizations like the Brooke Owens Fellowship and Patti Grace Smith Fellowship are changing that.

Dawn Brooke Owens, raised in a small California town near Death Valley National Park, was one of two students in her high school class. From humble origins, Brooke went on to graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the International Space University. She balanced her professional life at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, XPRIZE Foundation, Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation and the White House with tons of philanthropy work—supporting organizations that helped children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis, combating human trafficking and poverty, as well as empowering girls and women.

The Brooke Owens Fellowship empowers women and other underrepresented gender minorities to pursue careers in aerospace. We’ve had five so-called “Brookies” as Maxar interns since 2017, and we’re excited to welcome #6, our 2021 summer intern An-Ya O., a junior at Princeton University studying mechanical and aerospace engineering. An-Ya recently designed a solar-powered aeroponic farm (an air or mist environment without the use of soil) and is ready to take on another meaningful challenge.

We are also pleased to announce our partnership with a new sister program, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship.

From an early age, Patti Grace Smith was not afraid to challenge barriers to success. As one of 12 plaintiffs in a landmark case that helped desegregate all public primary and secondary schools and public universities in Alabama, Patti began her legacy of helping to improve life on Earth—which led her to space. She spent 28 years with the federal government and became the first leader of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. After her retirement, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve as chair of the NASA Advisory Council Commercial Committee and the advisory board of the National Air and Space Museum.

The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, established in 2020, is dedicated to empowering Black excellence in aerospace. Maxar is lucky to be welcoming two interns from this program in its debut year.

Mya G. is a student at The Pennsylvania State University studying aerospace engineering. In a word, she describes herself as resilient. As we know well, space is hard. But determination like Mya’s will help us push aerospace engineering capabilities forward.

Paden W. studies aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Tuskegee University. He says, “Science provides me with a sense of wonder and humility.” A hands-on problem-solver and Space Camp alumni, Paden brings a valuable spirit of possibility to Maxar.

Curiosity, courage and humility are essential to what we do here at Maxar. And so is having diverse perspectives in solving complex problems. We’re grateful to organizations like the Brooke Owens Fellowship and the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship that help us find talented students to develop the workforce of tomorrow.

Find out more about Maxar’s 2021 Internship Program.

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