Franziska Barthel

  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2019

  • University of California Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering, '20

  • Host Institution: Virgin Orbit

  • Mentor: Charity Weeden

Franee is currently a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Berkeley. She immigrated to the United States from Germany in 2000 but spent every school break attending school back there in order to be around family and not lose her German speaking proficiency. Franee grew up in Santa Barbara CA, and was able to attend the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy in high school. It was there that she came to love the formal engineering process as well as learning that her passion for art and people has a place in the STEM world.

At Berkeley Franee has had the privilege of doing research for the past two years now on a Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) system that uses novel technology to increase the roundtrip efficiency and prove CAES as a valid large scale energy storage system. For this project her team of three has received funding from CalSEED with which they are now working on their first compressor prototype.

Franee has also been involved with various sports at Cal including Triathlon, Ultimate Frisbee, and even the NCAA Women’s Rowing team. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of a Christian group on campus called R.U.F., which stands for Reformed University Fellowship. It has been the greatest joy of her college experience to be a part of this group and feel loved on by her peers as well as trying her best to love on the students of Berkeley.

Franee got the “space bug” in the summer of 2018 when she interned at Stealth Space company in Alameda CA, and received a firsthand look at the design, manufacturing, test, and launch operations that go into an aerospace company like Stealth. She pertsonally worked on the Launch Infrastructure team and is now looking to keep going in the amazing industry and continue learning all there is to know!

Franee’s favorite things to do outside of school and job stuff are to jump in the ocean at every hour of the day, spend whole days with my best girl friends, drive people to fun places in my mini van, snowboard in Yosemite and cook as a form of relaxation as well as procrastination.