Nina Otebele and Ellen Wang will kick-off their summer internships at Amazon Prime Air and Rocket Lab.
Aerospace engineering undergraduates Nina Otebele and Ellen Wang are among the 47 students selected for the 2024 Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, where they will spend their summer interning at Amazon Prime Air and Rocket Lab, respectively.
The Class of 2024 marks the eighth class of “Brookie” Fellows. As fellows, they will be interning with innovative aerospace companies this summer and will receive executive-level mentorships within their host companies, in addition to a Brookie alumni mentor.
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 2016 at the age of 35 after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Nina Otebele - a Seattle native - will be returning home this summer to begin her internship at Amazon Prime Air in the Hardware Development team, designing various hardware for their new drone, the MK30.
“I feel so honored to be awarded this fellowship. I see this as an amazing opportunity to develop my experience and leadership skills,” shared Otebele.
Though she doesn’t know who her mentors will be just yet, she’s excited to attend the fellowship’s summit, where she will meet with industry leaders and the other Brookies. The AE third-year student credits her mom with encouraging her to pursue her interest in engineering.
“She was the one who motivated me to attend a STEM high school when I was initially reluctant to. She has always motivated me to do my best and actively supported my passions and education,” shared Otebele.
As a high school student, she participated in a summer program at the University of Washington, where she spent two summers planning different missions to Mars and learning electric propulsion concepts.
“The program helped me learn the importance and impact that aerospace engineering has on Earth. It also made me realize that this degree path is more than just ‘sending rockets to space’,” she explained. “With aerospace, you can help communities who need resources such as satellites for Wi-Fi and water tracking systems.”
When it came time to decide where to study aerospace engineering, she liked that Georgia Tech had a lot of undergraduate research options and a customizable degree path.
At Tech, she is involved in undergraduate research in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory and is an Aerospace Engineering Ambassador for the AE School. This summer will mark her second consecutive summer internship. Last summer, she interned with General Electric as a part of the Aerothermal Methods Department where she turned their baseline process test data into a tool to improve the department’s turbine engine designs.
This summer, Ellen Wang will intern with Rocket Lab’s Neutron Propulsion team, working on the Archimedes engine, a highly reusable liquid-propellant rocket engine.
“I am beyond thrilled to receive the honor of being a Brooke Owens Fellow. The incredible Brooke Owens Fellowship community has and continues to inspire me every day, and it means the world to me to carry on the legacy of empowering women in aerospace - and STEM as a whole,” shared Wang.
Last summer, she interned with Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut, as a structures intern and is currently interning at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston as a systems engineering intern.
The AE third year has always been fascinated by space and the mysteries of the universe, so choosing aerospace engineering as a major was a natural fit for the Bethesda, Maryland native.
“Georgia Tech has one of the best aerospace engineering programs in the country, but it was after I got in and visited the campus that I knew I wanted to come here,” she shared.
“I remember loving the campus and taking photos in front of all the aerospace buildings' signs. I even wrote about the Space Systems Design Laboratory (SSDL) in my application, and now I do research at SSDL, which is a cool full circle moment for me.”
As an undergraduate researcher, she works on the SSDL’s structures team for the Green Propellant Dual Mode (GPDM), NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate project. She’s currently working on designing the CubeSat bus for the GPDM’s demonstration mission, which will pave the way for more sustainable propulsive capabilities onboard future small spacecraft.
She’s also contributed to the GT-X CubeSat project, where she rapidly developed a series of 1U-CubeSats with improved capabilities for each iteration.
AE undergrads Althea Noonan, Ishani Peddi, and Samina Patel will embark on summer internships with leading aerospace engineering companies.