3 UA Students Awarded Brooke Owens Fellowships

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Three University of Alabama students were among 47 from around the nation selected for the prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit program that awards exceptional women and gender minorities with an internship in the fields of space and aviation.

Fellows take part in the program that will pair each with a summer internship at one of the leading aerospace companies, an executive-level mentor who is a senior leader in the aerospace industry and a peer-level mentor from the Brooke Owens Fellowship alumnae network. Recipients were selected following a competitive application process that involved written and creative submissions and multiple rounds of interviews.

A headshot of Sindhu Belki

Sindhu Belki is a senior majoring in aerospace engineering and mechanics. Born in Doha, Qatar, to Indian immigrant parents, Belki is the first from Qatar to receive the fellowship. Due to the country’s lack of a space industry presence, she left home to pursue her lifelong passion for aerospace. Sindhu hopes to pave the way for Qatari women by establishing a Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter in Qatar. 

At UA, Belki served as the project manager with the Alabama Rocketry Association, UA’s rocketry club. She also represented UA on a global platform at the 74th International Astronautical Congress, where she mediated two sessions on planetary defense and presented and published her first paper. She also serves as a mentor on the International Peer Advisory Council to help fellow international students find their place in UA’s global community.

Belki will be interning with SES Satellites as a gateway operations engineer in Manassas, Virginia.

Zariah Orr is a 4th year student double majoring in aerospace engineering and physics with a minor in mathematics. The Lincoln native’s passion and curiosity about space and the universe that surrounds her is what continues to motivate her to reach her goals and dreams.

A headshot of Zariah Orr

Orr is currently involved in on-campus organizations such as Collegiate 100, UASPACE, Alabama Astrobotics, Sigma Gamma Tau, Society of Physics Students and National Society of Black Engineers. In addition, she holds an on-campus job, a leadership position in Collegiate 100, and volunteers across the community.

Orr will intern at United Launch Alliance in Denver.

A headshot of Brenna Wells

Brenna Wells is a senior majoring in astrophysics and mathematics. The Andalusia native credits her upbringing for valuing the importance and power of an inclusive and diverse community. She is particularly proud of her work with the Women in Physics and Astronomy group, which, under her co-leadership, grew from five members to more than 30 members of various fields and graduate levels.

Wells believes that a multidisciplinary approach is an asset in any project. Currently, she is working towards aligning her interest in science with her passion for creation by exploring ideas like the construction of cube satellites through additive manufacturing and the search for intermediate mass black holes through machine learning.

Wells will intern at Loft Orbital.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, bryant.welbourne@ua.edu, 205-348-8325