Q: WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
A: If you are a woman currently seeking the equivalent of an undergraduate degree - through a college, university, or community college – in any field, with the intention of pursuing a full-time career in the aviation or aerospace industry, you are eligible. If you anticipate receiving your Bachelors degree in the time period between submitting this application and the beginning of the summer, you are still eligible. Women of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds are encouraged to apply—this program is specifically designed to serve as an onramp into the industry for talented women, regardless of their background.
A note for applicants who are not US citizens or permanent residents: we are huge believers in the value of international perspectives and contributions. We also know that due to export control regulations, internships at many Host Institutions are restricted to US citizens or US permanent residents (green card holders). So, while we very much encourage you to apply, we also want to be up front about the fact that your odds are significantly lower than those of an applicant from the USA.
Similarly, while women who are currently enrolled in the first year of their undergraduate program are eligible to apply, the lack of a transcript will make it more difficult to compete against our extremely talented applicant pool.
In both cases, though, the situation is not impossible. Our Class of 2017 did indeed include one non-US national and one first year student.
Q: HOW MANY FELLOWS ARE CHOSEN?
A: We anticipate selecting 36 Brooke Owens Fellows for the Class of 2018--just as we did for the Class of 2017.
Q: HOW DO I APPLY?
A: Check out our "Apply" page here on the website! We use an online application form, so there is nothing to mail in and no fee to be paid.
Every complete application received prior to the deadline will be thoroughly reviewed by multiple members of our Selection Committee. All applicants will be assessed based on their talent, their experience to date, their commitment to service, their creativity—and all of the other character strengths we so admired in our namesake, Brooke Owens. The most highly qualified candidates will be selected for a telephone interview with a member of our Selection Committee. These phone interviews will be conducted in mid- to late- December 2017.
When all telephone interviews are completed, we will select our finalists and make our preliminary matches between candidates and Hosts. This match process will incorporate each applicant’s input on Host preference and desired characteristics of a successful summer—but will also incorporate similar input from our Host companies as well as our Selection Committee’s expert knowledge. Each finalist will be paired with between one and four potential Hosts. Finalists will be notified that they have advanced and will be paired with their potential Host or Hosts on 8 January 2018.
Between 8 January and 24 January 2018, Hosts will conduct telephone interviews with finalists. Each Host Institution will have its own interview process—some will require one interview, some multiple interviews, and some may desire a work sample. If applicants have extraordinary requirements for salary or scheduling, these should be discussed during the interview process. Please note that not every finalist will be contacted by every Host they have been matched with, although most of our Hosts choose interview every finalist.
By 24 January, each Host is asked to submit feedback and rankings for each Finalist they have been matched with; and similarly, each finalist will submit feedback and rankings for each of their matched Hosts.
In the last week of January, our Selection Committee will make our final selections for the Class of 2018. Using all of the feedback and rankings provided by finalists and Hosts, as well as our own insight, we will make final matches between members of the Class of 2018 and their Host Institutions. Applicants selected as members of the Class of 2018 will receive the good news on 31 January 2018.
Over the subsequent week or two, Fellows will complete any required paperwork with their Host company, finalizing the terms of their employment. From there, the adventure truly begins!
Selection is expected to be highly competitive.
Q. Do you plan to expand the program to accept graduate students? or men?
A. We've tried to keep our program open to as many people as possible. Right now, we have only three eligibility requirements: you must be a woman, you must be an undergraduate student at the time you submit your application, and you must be interested in a career in aerospace. To help us keep the focus necessary to continue to be successful, those requirements are all firm.
However, we are excited to report that based on the great success of our inaugural year, others have contacted us about created spin-off programs with different or broader eligibility requirements. We are proud to support the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program, a program closely modeled on our own that serves rising seniors and graduate students passionate about commercial spaceflight.
Q. why isn't my favorite aerospace start-up / company / non-profit / government lab a host institution?
A. Originally, our Host Institutions were organizations where there was a direct tie to Brooke; perhaps she had worked there, or a close personal friend was an executive or a founder. As the prestige of the program grew in our early days, we began hearing from other companies committed to diversity and excellence about joining our roster of Hosts. Now, we find ourselves in the wonderful and unexpected position of having a waiting list of companies and non-profits interested in employing our Fellows.
After the success of our inaugural class, we've decided to cap the number of Fellows at 36–allowing us to bring this unique set of experiences to as many students as we can without compromising on the quality of the job matches, the mentoring, the summit, or the lifelong camaraderie between members of our Alumnae community. As such, we are not able to take onboard new Hosts in large numbers.
We are currently evaluating potential new Hosts, based on their ability to provide a meaningful, purpose-driven, paid experience to a Brooke Owens Fellow. Having a direct, personal connection to Brooke herself is no longer a requirement, though it will almost remain an advantage.
At present, we have not yet identified a successful administrative path to having a Brooke Owens Fellow employed at a government facility–such as the Brooke's former teams at the Federal Aviation Administration or the White House Office of Management and Budget. However, we remain eternally optimistic.
Q. how can i support the program?
A. We can accept tax-deductible financial contributions via The Future Space Leaders Foundation. Donations will be used primarily to bring the Brooke Owens Fellows to the program's annual Summit, during which the Fellows meet with each other, with hand-picked industry mentors, and with other leaders in the fields of aviation and space exploration. You can make your donation online here.
You can also help by spreading the word to undergraduate students who might benefit from applying for the program. We are eager to hear from talented women from a variety of disciplines and universities. Please direct students to our website and social media accounts!
Finally, though we currently have a waiting list for Host Institutions and mentors, we are always looking to make connection with inidividuals and organizations that could add value to the program in either role. To start a conversation, please contact us!
Q. who runs the program?
A. The Brooke Owens Fellowship Program was founded by Lori Garver, Cassie Kloberdanz Lee, and William Pomerantz. All three are aerospace leaders who were close personal friends of Brooke's. Lori, Cassie, and Will still run the program–with key input and contributions from our Host Institutions, mentors, and friends. Additionally, our alumnae are playing active roles in the program, helping 'pay if forward' and ensuring that the program is in a constant state of improvement and growth.
We are also grateful to our friends and colleagues at The Future Space Leaders Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the career development of young space and satellite industry professionals. The Brooke Owens Fellowship Program was created in a very short and intense period of time, and the FSLF team provided a steady helping hand.
Q. how does matching work?
A. Wouldn't it be more fun if we told you it was magic? But, if you insist, we can shed a bit of light on the process. Every applicant is asked to name her top choices for Host Institution. Additionally, each applicant is asked to tell us about what is most important to her about her summer experience--essentially helping define what a successful internship looks like. Both of these factors are taken into account--particularly the latter category, because not all candidates are equally familiar with all of our Host Institutions. Speaking of our Hosts, each also tells us what they are looking for in a successful intern; sometimes, this is a list of specific skills and experiences, but more often it is a list of attributes that make for a successful member of the team at that particular company or organization. This input is added to the mix. Once we have off the data from all of our finalists, a panel of industry experts--led by our three founders--build a set of massive spreadsheets and CSI-style poster boards, then have a very long, very intense set of phone calls finalizing matches. Sometimes, candidates are matched with exactly the Hosts that they requested. In other cases, candidates are matched with a totally different set of companies from what the candidate originally requested. We've had great success with both types of cases. Making good matches is simultaneously the hardest and the most fun part of the application process.