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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.