Are you considering applying for Brooke Owens Fellowship Program Class of 2021.Application requirement for the Class of 2021 have just been released
We’ve put a lot of thought into designing an application that recognizes that talent comes in many different forms, and that people of all backgrounds deserve a better shot at being included, bringing their unique contributions, and thriving in the global aerospace business. Because we are explicitly trying to do things differently – more fairly, more thoroughly, and more cleverly – you will notice that our application process is quite different from most applications you may have previously filled out for jobs, scholarships, or fellowships. We ask you for the normal things you are used to submitting, but we also have a few unique requirements designed to help us identify the best possible candidates from all backgrounds. Because of those unique requirements, you will definitely want to read through this page and the related links thoroughly.
We use an online application submission process. This year, we will open our online portal on Saturday, September 12th, 2020. But well before you access that portal, you should read this document and begin creating some original material, gathering some existing documentation, and deciding what kind of Fellowship experience interests you the most. This document will walk you through everything you’ll want to do.
You’ve got some time to think all of this through and to put forward your best effort – but it’s always best to start preparing your materials right away. This year, our application deadline is on Sunday, October 4th, 2020.
WHAT’S CHANGED FROM LAST YEAR?
Are you a returning applicant? Awesome! We love to hear from applicants again, and experience can offer you a leg up. Many beloved members of our Brookie community made it into the program on their second, third, or even fourth try – and went on to be extremely successful in our program and beyond.
But be advised: a few things have changed from last year. After preparing a thorough diversity report, we’ve made a few tweaks designed to further eliminate unconscious bias. Here are the main things to keep an eye out for as you review the application to join the Class of 2021:
Every year, we change about half our essay prompts; and this year is no exception. If you’ve already started working on an essay, check early to make sure that prompt is still available. And give a close read to the new prompts – you might find something that really inspires you!
Last year, we specified which category of prompts should be addressed with which format of essay. This year, we’re giving you more flexibility to pick which type of original composition you use for each category of prompts.
We’ve tweaked our requirements for letters of recommendation again. This year, we require two such letters. You’ll also see that we are providing you more resources if you want a little help figuring out how to go about getting excellent letters of recommendation.
We moved our application deadline a little earlier this year, in order to allow a bit more time for the first and second rounds of interviews. We think that being less rushed in those parts of the process will help us get even better at avoiding unconscious bias in selection.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO GATHER
Okay, this is the stuff that you are probably used to submitting alongside applications. It’s usually pretty easy to collect – why not start gathering this stuff now, just to be sure?
Your latest résumé or CV. Double check it for typos. Have a friend read it. Have a different friend triple check it. Make sure you are listing everything that might make you a valuable teammate at an aerospace company – which very likely includes your clubs, side-hustles, and other projects in addition to your course work and any past jobs or internships.
Your latest school transcript. We think it is downright crazy that universities charge their own students money to access official transcripts; accordingly, we will accept happily unofficial transcripts. Admittedly, it is possible that if you advance to the final stage of our selection process, our Hosts Institutions may require an official transcript – but even that is exceedingly rare. And by the way, if you’ve just started at a new school, feel free to send your latest transcript from your previous school.
To help us make sure we never lose track of your documents, we ask you to give your files specific names. We’ll remind of you of this in the online portal, but let’s go ahead and go over those names now. If we had a hypothetical candidate named, for example, Cindi Mayweather, she would name these two documents like this:
Simple, right? Taking five seconds to name your files this way not only shows your attention to details, it also helps make sure we’re always looking at everything you submitted whenever our team or one of our Host Institutions reviews your application.
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO DECIDE
One unique aspect of the Brooke Owens Fellowship is the way we match Fellows with jobs. You are probably used to applying to specific openings at specific companies or organizations, but that’s not how we work. Instead, we gather an enormous volume of data from both hosts and applicants and then use that to set up specific interview pairings.
To do this, we’ll need several inputs from you to help us understand what would make the most successful summer possible. On the application form, you’ll notice that we ask you to rank a bunch of different job attributes—for example, do you care more about a company’s culture or its mission? Are you looking for a specific set of experiences, or to be exposed to new things? No matter how much you might want to put 1’s for all of the categories, please only use each ranking (1-8) once.
We will also ask you to indicate which of our Host Institutions appeal to you the most. Please keep in mind that you will be considered for matches with all of our hosts, not just the ones you indicate—and indeed, some of our greatest success stories have come from Fellows paired with companies they had never even heard of prior to applying.
We’re busily putting the final touches on our host list for 2021. We will publish this list before our application submission portal opens, so please check back in the next few weeks to see where you and the rest of our 2021 Brookies might work!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO REQUEST FROM OTHERS
Getting to know any human being on the basis of a few sheets of paper is impossible. We need a lot more insight in order to really learn who you are, how we might be able to support you, and what you might contribute to one of our Host Institutions. One key way we do that is by asking folks who already know you to share their perspectives.
So, we need you to find two other human beings who will write us a letter all about you. Specifically, we want:
One letter that focuses on your achievements, skills, and potential in achievement-oriented settings like jobs, classes, labs, certain clubs or extracurricular activities, and more.
One letter that focuses on your character, creativity, and consistency in service-oriented settings like clubs, religious groups, family groups, and more.
Please ask the people writing these letters to send them directly to us via email at [email protected]. And as with your transcripts, CVs, and more, it would be very helpful to have these letters come in with a specific filename. We therefore politely request that your recommenders submit their letters as PDFs with the following filename convention:
For example, if a person named Ellen Ripley is writing a candidate for our hypothetical candidate named Cindi Mayweather, the file should be named
If you never asked for a Letter of Recommendation before, don’t worry! Our alumnae are in the process of compiling some excellent advice on how to go about obtaining two meaningful letters that really reflect who you are as a person. Read on for more!
Both letters of recommendation should be submitted by our deadline of Sunday, October 4th, 2020.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO CREATE
Okay, here’s where things get really interesting.
Like we’ve said before, transcripts and résumés are useful sources of information, but limited. Letters of recommendation help, but only show us the perspective of other people. We find it most useful to learn about our candidates by asking them to create.
Accordingly, as part of our application, we require you to create three original works. These three works are designed to help us learn more about three different facets of you as a potential Fellow: 1) your professional and academic interests, 2) your fundamental character and personal interests, and 3) your service and community mindset. The more we learn about you through your application, the better!
In addition to focusing on three different aspects of you, these three original works should come in three different formats, as a way to better show off your full range of skills and interests.
FORMATS FOR ORIGINAL WORKS: SHORT ESSAY, LONG ESSAY, MULTIMEDIA
One of these works will be a short essay of approximately 250 words. In addition to telling us whatever you want to tell us with the content of your response to the prompt, this format will help us see how you can quickly, concisely, and clearly convey a key message – an important job skill for any career.
Another will be a longer essay of approximately 750 words. Again, in addition to the important content of your essay, this long essay form will help us see how you organize your thoughts around more complex topics and discussions.
The final work will be something we’ve named the ‘multimedia essay’ – which means it will take essentially any format that isn’t a written prose essay. Please feel free to choose the media that best reflects you, your interests, and your talents. Past Fellows have submitted poems, animations, written works of fiction, spoken word pieces, songs, graphic designs, comic books, and video monologues. We would, of course, love to be surprised. Please make sure whatever you send us is in a format that our selection committee members will be able to access without needing special software or a password to access — and trust us, life will be much, much easier for all of us if you keep the file size for your submissions below 250 MB.
Multimedia essay limitations: For the multimedia essay, the only limitations we have are the following: we cannot accept physical submission via snailmail or any other means; no software that isn’t more or less universally and freely available should be required to review your submission; and a member of our selection committee or a hiring manager at one of our Host Institutions must be able to review your submission within a five-minute window.
New to our application process this year, we are allowing you to decide which format to use for which submission. We need one short essay, one long essay, and one multimedia essay from you. Those should include one work focused on your professional interests, one work focused on your character and personal interests, and one work on your community and service mindset. How you mix and match those is up to you.
Here are some random examples of what you might choose:
Regardless of what format you use for which prompt, all of your submissions will be weighted equally by our selection committee.
Before we get to the prompts, a few last logistical details. Once you’ve submitted your application to our online portal, you will receive an automated email response from our Brooke Owens Fellowship via our online portal tool (called “Smartsheet”) that includes a personalized link. By clicking that URL and following the instructions, you can then submit your three original works, along with your CV and transcript. Please note that each file must be smaller than 250 MB. And surprise surprise, we’ve got a request for you about how to name the files. Sticking with our hypothetical applicant named Cindi Mayweather, her filenames would look like the following (note: the file extensions reflect random selections here):
Got it? Now, let’s look at the prompts. Remember, all three of your responses should be original works, created by you specifically for this application. Furthermore, every work should specifically address your chosen prompt. In fact, if possible, please include the prompt in your submission itself, just so we are 100% clear what you are addressing.
PROMPTS ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS
Imagine a friend of yours has an idea for a new aerospace start-up and asks for your help developing the idea, raising funding, and getting started. Assuming you believe in the potential of the idea, how would you help?
Engineers often focus on one particular part of the engineering lifecycle: design, test, build, or operate. Your CV will give us some insight into which of these you’ve already done. Which one would you like to focus on more next summer, and why?
During a summer internship, would you prefer to broaden or to deepen your technical/professional skillset? Which specific skill would you most like to grow, and why?
How can non-STEM professionals (business, policy, communications, et cetera) – perhaps including you! – best contribute to teams, missions, or causes in a STEM-dominated field like aerospace?
What skill that you have learned outside of the classroom or workplace do you think will do the most to make you a more effective teammate at an aerospace company? Why?
PROMPTS ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER AND PERSONAL INTERESTS
GPAs and college transcripts don’t paint a complete picture of a person. What else do we need to know about you?
What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever screwed up? What did you learn from it?
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, only you lacked the resources?
If you have ever applied to the Brooke Owens Fellowship before, what do you think is the biggest way you have changed or grown since your last application?
If you could pause the world for six months to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? Why?
PROMPTS ABOUT YOUR SERVICE AND COMMUNITY MINDSET
In what specific way do you want your work in the aerospace community to make life better for others?
What is a significant sacrifice you’ve made to help someone else?
What is something you have taught to another person that made a lasting impression—on you, on them, or on you both?
As of now, is the pursuit of aerospace bringing positive change to the people of Earth? If so, how? If not, what needs to change?
Service comes in many forms and in many locations, from one’s own home to the planet as a whole. What do you think is your strongest attribute when it comes to service?
If you had the opportunity, how would you change the Brooke Owens Fellowship itself to make it have a greater impact on our Fellows and on the industry as a whole?
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO CONFIRM
If you are going to apply, all of the following things should be true. Please take a moment to confirm they are before you spend the time doing everything else!
You are an undergraduate student. You can be enrolled at any type of undergraduate institution: Community and Junior Colleges; Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Liberal Arts Colleges; Women’s Colleges; Tribal Colleges; Technical Institutes and Professional Schools; and Public or Private Universities. You can be taking a year off. You can be pursuing a second Associates or Bachelors degree.
People of your gender are underrepresented in aerospace. If you are a cisgender woman, a transgender woman, non-binary, agender, bigender, two-spirit, demigender, genderfluid, genderqueer, or another form of gender minority, this program is for you. If you are a cisgender man, this program isn’t for you… but we encourage you to check out our spin-off, the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program!
You are available for full-time employment for a reasonable amount of time in the Summer of 2021. We define Summer quite loosely, since every school is on a different schedule. We also know that some people have other commitments to family, school, or other jobs. But a core part of this Fellowship is providing a meaningful, demanding summer internship and a living wage, and you should be available to take on that challenge.
You are interested in pursuing a career in aerospace. You don’t have to have it all mapped out, nor is this a binding commitment. But a career in aerospace should be among your goals for the future; otherwise, you’d be taking a spot away from someone else who might need this shot to chase the career of their dreams.
WANT SOME HELP?
This application is meant to take some time, some thought, some heart, and some work. That’s how we can build a program that identifies elite talent without being elitist, how we can find incredible promise in people and in places that others (to their own detriment) sometimes overlook.
We recognize that many of you may never have done anything quite like this. And we want to help. We’ve got a few resources for you.
Ask a Brookie. The Alumnae from our Class of 2018 created the “Ask a Brookie” service to allow anyone from anywhere in the world to write in with a question for an awesome young aerospace leader. Please feel free to use this service to ask past Brookies about their experience with the Fellowship, the application process, or anything else! They are committed to fairness, so they aren’t going to give you a secret code that gets you selected or anything – but they will answer your questions with thought and care. This service is 100% free and open to absolutely everyone.
Use our Brookie Applicant Slack. We’ve created a Slack workspace specifically for applicants to this program. This is totally optional, but it can be a great place to ask questions or seek encouragement from your Fellow applicants. We also have several alumnae who actively use the Slack, as well as a few members of our Selection Committee, our Executive Team, and even our Founding team. It’s a fun opportunity for group or one-on-one interaction. This service is 100% free and open to absolutely everyone. To be invited to join the Slack, please fill out this simple form.
How-to-Guides and Office Hours. Our alumnae are working on creating some How-to-Guides about specific parts of applying for this Fellowship, including things like how to get accurate and impressive letters of recommendation. They are also looking at holding ‘Office Hours’ for people who want to virtually pop in and ask a question. To learn more about these opportunities, please follow the Brooke Owens Fellowship on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn – we’ll post information as early and as frequently as we can! And all of these services will be 100% free and open to absolutely everyone.
IT’S ALMOST TIME TO SUBMIT
Starting on Saturday, September 12th, 2020, you’ll spot a button on our webpage that allows you to use our online portal to submit your application. If you’ve already done all of the things described above, the actual submission process should just take you a few minutes.