Student News

UK Senior Anna Compas Awarded Prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship

Photo of Anna Compas
Photo courtesy of UK College of Engineering.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2022) — Anna Compas, a Lexington senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky, is the recipient of a Brooke Owens Fellowship.

Created to honor the legacy of space industry pioneer and accomplished pilot, Dawn Brooke Owens (1980–2016), the program serves as an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women who aspire to explore our sky and stars, shake up the aerospace industry, and to help their fellow men and women here on Earth.

"We are thrilled to have our most diverse class yet — continuing our push to bring incredible new talent into the aerospace industry," said Emily Calandrelli, a science communicator, host of Netflix's "Emily's Wonder Lab" and member of the Brooke Owens Fellowship executive team. "We're looking forward to watching them make their mark on the aerospace industry."

The nationally acclaimed program awards exceptional undergraduate women — and other gender minorities — with aviation and space internships, as well as provides senior mentorship and professional networking opportunities.

“Brookies” are selected for their talent, their experience to date, their commitment to service and their creativity. Their participation in the program is designed to help them grow in each of those areas — turning promising students into thriving leaders.

"This fellowship will not only connect me with amazing mentors, who will help me throughout my entire career, but it will also connect me with mentees," Compas said. "This fellowship is creating a positive cycle of support for women and gender minorities who need a strong community to reach their goals."

Compas will intern at Zipline in San Francisco. The company aims to revolutionize the medical supply chain by designing, manufacturing and operating drones to deliver medical products to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda.

"I want to be part of the pushing the envelope of engineering — that's the fun part of it," Compas explained. "But if you can push the envelope in a way that actually helps people and use this new technology in a way that saves lives, it's incredible."

Additionally, Compas has completed two co-op terms at Ethicon Endo-Surgery in Cincinnati and a two-term internship at Space Tango in Lexington. She was also a member of the UK Solar Car Team and helped design and construct the current car.

Following graduation this May, Compas plans to pursue a career in the aerospace industry. “I want to solve challenging problems while helping people in a tangible way.”

About the Brooke Owens Fellowship

The 2022 Class of Brooke Owens Fellows were selected through a fair and competitive application process involving written and creative submissions, interviews with the fellowship's leadership team and its close network, and interviews with 36 leading aerospace employers from across multiple sectors in the U.S. aerospace industry.

About the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external fellowships scholarships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.