Maddie Miller is Brooke Owens Scholar


Maddie Miller ’19, a mechanical engineer, was accepted to be a Brooke Owens Scholar.
Miller will be travelling to San Francisco this summer to work at the aerospace company called Planet.
Miller was one of 36 students nationwide to be accepted as a Brooke Owens Scholar.
The scholarship was founded to honor Dawn Brooke Owens (1980-2016), a pioneer in the aerospace field.
Miller was drawn to the program after finding support and mentorship from Heather Watson and Becky Koopmann in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union.
When applying, Miller choose to focus on the colonization of Mars.
It is a topic she finds interesting and relevant in today’s society. After being accepted, Miller found herself participating in many interviews.
Although she did not find herself talking with her first choice employer, SpaceX, she interviewed with several other companies, including the one she chose, Planet, located in San Francisco.
Planet works on satellite imaging and was started by former employees of NASA.
Miller was drawn to the small size of the company because of their focus on incorporating her into their company for the duration of the internship and, partly, because one of the lead design engineers at Planet also began as an intern.
She looks forward to attending meetings and being a source of feedback on the role of women in STEM.
Mentorship is a key aspect of the Brooke Owens Scholarship program.
Miller was led to apply by her mentors at Union.
Her new mentor in the program, Mike Simpson, a Brooke Owens mentor, is the executive director of the Secure World Foundation and is the former president of the International Space University.
It is with the help of mentors like these that Miller hopes to become a mentor for future generations.
She has also been involved with volunteer work at the California Science Center near her home.
Miller hopes to make a career in the constantly changing aerospace industry.
She stressed the importance of public interest and funding of research and development in the field.
With the rise of companies like SpaceX and Planet, attention is shifting away from NASA and other organizations.
Miller hopes through raised awareness that there will be more public interest, especially among women.
With aerospace technology playing a larger role in daily life, Miller feels the work she will be doing is important.
Earlier this May, Stephen Hawking estimated that humans have 100 years to find a new planet.
Miller feels the Brooke Owens Scholarship is a great starting place for her to go further and inspire others along the way.


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