CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper is honored to support two nationally recognized programs for promising students in the aerospace industry: the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and the Brooke Owens Fellowship programs.
Created in 2020, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship is designed to combat the under-representation of Black and African-American employees in the U.S. aerospace workforce. This first class of Fellows includes 43 undergraduates.
This summer Draper will welcome Shalayah-Naomi Webb as the company’s first Patti Grace Smith Fellow. Webb is a third-year student at San Diego City College with plans to transfer to a four-year university to study aerospace engineering. She is currently chapter secretary of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), an organization that supports underrepresented communities in STEM education and careers. As an intern in guidance, navigation and control, Webb will contribute to a team of Draper engineers to analyze sensors and sensor data for hypersonic vehicles.
The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to address the historical gender imbalance in the aerospace industry by providing opportunities and access to talented young professionals from historically underrepresented genders. The class of Fellows for 2021 includes 44 undergraduates.
Draper will welcome Evelyn Chin as an intern to the company this summer. A Brooke Owens Fellow, Chin is a freshman at Pasadena City College with plans to transfer this fall to the University of California, Irvine, to study computer science and physics. She is currently special projects lead at Emerge, a company working to bring touch and emotion to virtual reality experiences. Chin will be an intern in flight software integration and test at Draper.
Webb’s interest in aerospace was prompted by a student competition at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but she credits the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship for solidifying her commitment. “A STEM career can feel isolating if there’s no one ‘in the room’ like you,” Webb said. “The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship community makes me feel seen.”
Chin says the Fellowship and internship at Draper come at a time when she is exploring new disciplines and projects, “broadening my scope, rather than narrowing it.” At Draper, her team is at work on a lunar lander system, and Chin is contributing to the automated testing framework.
Draper excels at providing students with experiential learning. Since 1973 the company has supported more than 1,000 graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in engineering and the sciences.