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  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2017

  • University of Colorado Boulder, Aerospace Engineering, BS/MS '19

  • Host Institution: Virgin Orbit

  • Mentor: Serina Diniega

Christine Reilly is a master’s student in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Though she loved space and science fiction as a child, Christine traces her passion for working in the aerospace industry to her enrollment in the NASA WISH (Women In STEM High school) Aerospace Scholars program. While inventing concepts for interplanetary spacecraft and moon bases, Christine saw that by becoming an engineer, she could help the future that science fiction promised become a reality for the kids of tomorrow.

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Christine interned at Virgin Orbit on the propulsion team, working on the liquid rocket engines NewtonThree and NetwonFour. She made a graphical user interface for the engine balance tool, designed and assembled articles for component testing, and modeled development hardware in CAD software.    

On campus, Christine worked as a researcher in the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab, satellite ground station engineer at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and course assistant for the aerospace senior capstone sequence. She has been involved in the CU Boulder jazz ensemble, intramural badminton, Alternative Spring Breaks volunteer organization, and the Engineering Honors Program. In her other internships, she built a modular Hall thruster at The Aerospace Corporation in 2016, and worked on advanced development at Blue Origin in 2018. In addition to the Fellowship, Christine has been recognized as an Astronaut Scholar, one of AIAA and Aviation Week’s “20 Twenties,” and is a two-time winner of the international COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

When her degree is complete, Christine will begin work full time at Blue Origin in Advanced Development Programs. She hopes to further exploration of space, so that someday her dream role of “starship chief engineer” will be a real job.