Patti Grace Smith Fellows: Where Are They Now?
One year after earning Patti Grace Smith Fellowships, three Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students report experiencing an increase in hands-on learning opportunities, wider access to networking and enhanced modes of career exploration.
Amani Toney, a junior Aeronautical Science student, interned this past summer with The Boeing Company and will return to Boeing this summer for another internship in its commercial aviation department in Seal Beach, California.
“I was able to see and live a day in the life of someone who works in the aerospace field,” said Toney, who is president of Embry-Riddle’s Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals chapter. “My experiences at Embry-Riddle taught me the importance of networking and working with those around you.”
Exemplifying Black excellence in aerospace, Patti Grace Smith Fellowships guarantee recipients paid internships at industry-leading firms, professional mentoring and grants up to $2,000. In 2023, for the third consecutive year, Embry-Riddle had the most students selected for this award of any university in the country.
“The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship focuses on addressing matters of racial and ethnic equity and inclusion in the aerospace industry,” said Dr. Brittany Davis, director of Embry-Riddle’s Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships. “In addition to providing Black undergraduates with their first hands-on work experience at one of the nation’s premiere aerospace firms, recipients are given two personal mentors to help them navigate their future career.”
Liam Hunte, a junior Aerospace Engineering student, was another Patti Grace Smith fellow in 2022. He interned this past summer with Hawkeye 360.
“Currently, I am pursuing research and Hawkeye 360 has invited me back for this summer,” he said.
During his internship, Hunte said he used all that he learned about data science through his machine learning projects, taught himself Python and developed an algorithm to improve the work product. Hunte also advocated for himself to work on satellite assembly in the clean room.
Another 2022 fellow, Madison Newbell interned this past summer with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, and is currently interning at BryceTech for the Spring semester. A sophomore Aerospace Engineering student at Embry-Riddle, she launched her first class-H motor rocket in Mojave, California.
During summer 2023, she will intern at the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. She currently serves as community service chair for Embry-Riddle’s National Society of Black Engineers Daytona Beach, Florida, chapter as well as Embry-Riddle’s Black Students Association.