IAC Undergrad Kay Perkins Awarded Patti Grace Smith Fellowship

Patti Grace Smith Fellowship awardees

Posted February 17, 2022

Five Georgia Tech students, including one in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, have been selected for Patti Grace Smith Fellowships, which pair Black undergraduate students with the nation’s leading aerospace companies. Jalen Cauley (AE ’25), Justin Connors (AE ’25), Suraya John (AE ’25), Justin Pemberton (ME ’25), and Kay Perkins (PubP and HTS ’24) are among the 39 national honorees from 26 institutions.

The second-year program aims to increase diversity in the aerospace industry by providing exceptional Black undergraduate students with a competitive summer internship, a pair of mentors established in the aerospace industry, and a scholarship. The fellowship is available to first and second-year students who are looking for their first jobs in the industry.

Applicants were selected based on their academic achievements, creativity, passion for aerospace, and commitment to serving others.

The fellowship is named after Patti Grace Smith, a leader in the aerospace industry. During the civil rights movement, Smith was one of the first students to integrate Alabama public schools. She later became the head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and an important public figure in the AE community. The award was created in 2020 and follows the same model as the Brooke Owens Fellowship, but geared towards promoting Black excellence and visibility in aerospace.

Kay Perkins, a sophomore in the School of Public Policy and School of History and Sociology, plans to use the fellowship’s resources, specifically the internship portion, to explore the intersection between the law and space technology research. Perkins, originally of Atlanta, will intern at BryceTech this summer.

“Aerospace policy is a necessary field that is quickly expanding as our society continues to make progress in aviation technology,” said Perkins. “I want to help people understand these kinds of policies.”

This is an excerpt from the College of Engineering, written by Zoe Elledge. Read more in the article on their website!