Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2019
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Atmospheric Sciences, '20
Host Institution: HawkEye360
Mentor: Cristin Dorgelo
Elena Kamis is an Aerospace Engineering major with a minor in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She spent most of her younger years doing activities including building circuits with old Christmas lights, putting together model rockets, sailing wind powered toy cars, and watching way too much Animal Planet.
Since then her love for science, specifically space sciences, has continued to grow. In her free time she’s an active member of the Illinois Space Society (ISS), acting previously as the Engineering Council Representative, SEDS Chapter Representative, and the Educational Outreach Director. She’s competed with her friends in NASA Space Grant 2017 placing third, NASA RASC-AL 2018 as a finalist team, and High Altitude Ballooning projects for the 2017 Solar Eclipse. She is also a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional and social engineering sorority.
When she’s not launching rockets or designing missions to Mars, Elena finds joy in spreading her love of space through outreach work. She is a certified boy scout mentor in the Rocketry merit badge, has taught Science Olympiad teams in Aerodynamics and Astronomy (all placing first), planned a five week after school program named BLAST at a local elementary school, and more. Her favorite day of the year is Illinois Space Day (ISD) which is an event hosted by ISS annually dedicated to teaching 200+ local Illinois students about space and STEM topics. In 2017, she had the honor of organizing ISD. Her favorite thing in the world is to see the unbiased enthusiasm students have towards sciences, no matter their gender, at those younger ages.
In the future Elena hopes to continue to grow her outreach work in the community and is excited to gain more experience with HawkEye360 for the summer of 2019.