• Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018

  • University of Colorado at Boulder, Aerospace Engineering, '19

  • Host Institution: Sierra Nevada Corporation

  • Mentor: Meenakshi Wadhwa

Carson Brumley grew up in a small mountain town hiking, snowboarding, paddle boarding, and horseback riding. Her passion for adventure and curiosity of the stars drove her to pursue an Aerospace Engineering degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

During her undergrad, Carson conducted her own research in the Bioastronautics Laboratory at CU, studying the relationship between people’s vestibular thresholds and their ability to adapt to artificial gravity. She is also an avid entrepreneur who started and operated her own business: a bicycle-powered food cart that sells baked potatoes. In the past, Carson has worked at a yoga studio, as a horseback trail ride guide and has taught kids art classes. As an intern at a non-profit art school, Carson enjoyed sharing people’s unique perspectives through art. She loves working with kids and wants young girls, especially, to know that being an engineer is both innovative and empowering.

As a student at CU, Carson has designed, built and launched a CubeSat; assisted with research on a human centrifuge device; and was a course assistant for a former astronaut. For her senior design project, she worked on a team of 12 to design, model, build and fly a high aspect ratio, box-wing, RC aircraft. As the science lead, she designed and built the flush air data sensing system (FADS) comprised of a microcontroller, a printed circuit board, and several combination pressure and temperature sensor packages that calculated the speed of the box-wing aircraft via ports that were flush to the leading edge of the wing. In her spare time in college, Carson played intramural sports, went horseback riding and did yoga.

As a 2018 Brooke Owens Fellow, Carson worked at Sierra Nevada Corporation as part of their systems engineering team on Dream Chaser. Carson’s main project was conducting human factors analysis, in which she quantified every interaction between the ISS crew and Dream Chaser to ensure every size astronaut could operate the equipment. Some of her other projects included: performing hands-on preliminary tests in a mockup, helping validate program requirements by implementing a functional architecture, assisting with the lighting design internal to Dream Chaser and allocating pressure vessel leak rates to subsystems.

After Carson’s Brookie summer, she completed her senior year while working part-time at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). In May of 2019, she graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering and received a full-time job offer from SNC to work as a Systems Engineer on Dream Chaser.

During the summer after graduation, Carson traveled to Kikuyu, Kenya to volunteer at an orphanage to help those in need before starting her new job at SNC. During the week she taught English and science classes at the orphanage to students from 6 to 18 years old that came to the orphanage during the day because they could not afford their school fees. On the weekends, she explored Kenya: learning some of the native language, living with the indigenous people, building a school and going on safari. Volunteering in Kenya re-opened Carson’s eyes to the importance of education, community, and love. Getting to know the incredibly intelligent and driven, yet extremely impoverished students in Kikuyu truly touched her heart and challenged her view of the world.

Carson is currently working at SNC continuing her human factors analysis on Dream Chaser. In her free time, she hikes with her dog (Ellie), rides horses, plays on SNC’s recreational softball team, attends CU football games and volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in her community.