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A Next-Generation Aerospace Pioneer

10/04/2019

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MAE undergrad shows what’s possible for young engineers

News Release — Oct. 4, 2019 — Early in her academic experience, Grace Graham learned the secret to success. The young aerospace engineering and economics double major from St. George, Utah, jumped into university life eager to get involved and meet new people. Her optimistic attitude and warm personality are a recipe for achievement that’s already yielding positive results.

Grace Graham, Junior in MAE
Hometown: St. George, Utah
BS – Expected ’21
Double Major: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Economics

Earlier this year, she was selected from 250 worldwide candidates to receive the prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship. The opportunity led Graham to a paid internship at The Aerospace Corporation in California where she worked in the Navigation and Geopositioning Systems department.

Grace Graham

“My internship at The Aerospace Corporation was above and beyond what I could have imagined,” said Graham. “I’ve been writing complex code in C++ and Python and I had the opportunity to do research with the Small Satellite group and organize a website for the Position, Navigation and Timing group.”

Graham says the Brooke Owens fellowship opened doors for her professional development. “I can't count how many times I was emotionally touched by the powerful women in the 2019 class,” she added. “At the end of our annual four-day summit in Washington, DC, there wasn’t one of 37 fellows that had not left an impact on me. The program has changed my life and will forever be one of the greatest things I've experienced.”

Back on campus, Graham excels in academics and leadership. She recently served as a vice president on the Engineering Council student government team, and she was responsible for launching a new student club focused on space. SEDS, or Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, is a national organization that encourages students and people from all walks of life to get involved in space-science and engineering.

“I see a lot of interesting things going on at Utah State University, but there weren’t any specific space-related student clubs on campus. I learned about SEDS through the Brooke Owens Fellowship, and I was intrigued by how many opportunities it provided.”

The organization connects members with networking, problem-solving and teamwork opportunities through original competitions and an annual conference. Graham says she’s excited about the new chapter as a way to build leadership and organization skills.

Mechanical and aerospace engineering was a natural fit for Graham. “I like the idea of taking static parts and putting them together to make something move. And I've always been fascinated about space, satellites, orbits and planets. The opportunity to learn about these things that have captured human imagination for eons evokes gratitude in me every day.”

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Writer: Matt Jensen, 435-797-8170, matthew.jensen@usu.edu