The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship is an award-winning program that connects the nation’s leading aerospace companies with talented Black students, and First Mode is proud to be partnering with the program again in its second year to welcome two of these 39 exceptional fellows as interns at our Seattle headquarters this summer.

In addition to earning a challenging summer aerospace internship, each PGS Fellow earns a scholarship, a pair of personalized aerospace industry mentors, and more. Through a rigorous four-round selection process, each of the chosen candidates has displayed exceptional aptitude for their chosen discipline as well as high marks for creativity, ingenuity, and a commitment to serving others.

First Mode’s most recent group of interns and co-ops also included two members from 2021’s inaugural class of PGS Fellows, Niya Hope-Glenn and Hermon Kaysha. We look forward to the positive impact these two new fellows, Aliya Belay and Christian Reid, will make at First Mode in 2022.

Article excerpt:

“We are delighted to welcome this extraordinary group of talented students into our Fellowship and into our industry,” said Col. B. Alvin Drew, Jr., (USAF, Ret.), a two-time Space Shuttle astronaut and a co-founder of the Fellowship. “As they build on the strong foundation built by our Class of 2021 and as they blaze new trails of their own, these students are doing more than just the important work of starting their own impressive careers. They are bringing a much needed influx of talent, creativity, and commitment to our field.” …

The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship has begun to make strides in the program’s quest to combat the longstanding and well-quantified under-representation of Black and African-American employees in the US aerospace workforce. Though the aerospace industry has made important strides since the days when African-Americans were legally barred from studying in many universities and holding many positions in the aerospace workforce, there is still a great deal of progress to be made. While African-Americans make up 14.2% of the US population and roughly 15% of American undergraduate and graduate students, a recent study conducted by Aviation Week Network found that only 6% of US Aerospace and Defense workers and only 3% of aerospace executives are Black. …

The 2022 Patti Grace Smith Fellows [include]:

Aliya Belay, originally of Laurel, MD, who is currently a first year student at Rice University, with an intended major of Mechanical Engineering. Ms. Belay will work this summer at First Mode.

Christian Reid, born and raised in Waldorf, MD, who is a sophomore at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in Aerospace engineering. He will be working this summer at First Mode in Seattle, WA.

Want to intern or work with us? We’re hiring! First Mode draws on the exceptional talent and creativity of its multidisciplinary team to solve the toughest problems on and off the planet. Check out our open positions in Seattle and Perth.