Mathematical Physics Senior Leela Cañuelas Selected for Prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship

The Brooke Owens Fellowship—a nationally-acclaimed nonprofit program recognizing exceptional undergraduate women and gender minorities with space and aviation internships, senior mentorship, and a lifelong professional network—announces its Class of 2023 Brooke Owens Fellows.

Collage of 47 Undergraduate Students in 2023 Brooke Owens Fellowship Class.

Leela Cañuelas, a 5th Year Senior studying Mathematical Physics and Philosophy at Brown University who is originally from Pittsburgh, was selected for the prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship. She was one of 47 students selected internationally this year and will intern with Planet this summer.

The Class of 2023 marks the seventh class of “Brookie” Fellows. The 47 Fellows were selected.through a fair and extremely competitive application process involving written and creative submissions, interviews with the Fellowship’s leadership team and its close network, and interviews with leading aerospace employers from across multiple sectors in the US aerospace\ industry. Almost 1,000 promising and talented students applied worldwide, coming from Ivy League universities, major research universities, historically black colleges and universities

(HBCU’s), liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and major international universities. The Fellows were selected based on their incredible talent, desire to pursue a career in aerospace, stand-out creative abilities, record of leadership and most importantly commitment to their

communities. The Brooke Owens Fellows will each be matched to an executive-level mentor in the aerospace industry who will support and work with the Fellows to help launch their careers. This summer,the Fellows will start their internships and come together for the annual Brooke Owens Summit in Washington, DC. The Class of 2023 will also become part of the network of 249 Brookie alumni spanning all aspects of space and aviation including engineering, scientific research, policy, journalism, and entrepreneurship. The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of beloved industry pioneer and accomplished pilot D. Brooke Owens, who passed away in June 2016 at the age of 35, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. The program was co-founded by Lori Garver, the former Deputy Administrator of NASA; Cassie Lee, CEO of Sound Future; and William Pomerantz, the Vice President for Special Projects at Virgin Orbit. The Brooke Owens Fellowship celebrates its ongoing mission and legacy of disrupting the historical gender imbalance in the aerospace industry by continuing its mission to provide opportunities and access to talented young professionals from women and gender minorities from all backgrounds.

Today, the Brooke Owens Fellowship is led by the 5-person Executive Team that includes Caroline Juang, a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University in the Department of Earth andEnvironmental Sciences; Emily Calandrelli, a science communicator and host of Netflix’s Emily’s Wonder Lab; Kayla Watson, a System Reliability Engineer at Amazon Prime Air; Lori Garver, co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship and former Deputy Administrator of NASA; and Will Pomerantz, co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship and Vice President of Special Projects at Virgin Orbit. Earlier this month, Diana Trujillo, Former Mars Perseverance Mission Lead at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, transitioned off the team after two years of service, and Garver was welcomed back into the day-to-day activities of the Executive Team. During this transition, both Trujillo and Garver were active members in selecting the newly-announced class of 2023 Brookies.

On behalf of the Executive Team, Garver says, “We are overjoyed to welcome our seventh class of ‘Brookies’, to the Fellowship, which is now providing nearly 300 women and gender minorities access to the ever more important aerospace industry. The program is expanding the diversity of the workforce in the sector and the experience and knowledge gained by these talented individuals will help it deliver a better future for humanity.”