Lobo Raven Otero-Symphony is –quite literally– reaching for the stars, as the first New Mexican to be selected for the Brooke Owens Fellowship Class of 2022. The fellowship provides women and other gender minorities with opportunities in the aerospace field. She was selected as 1 of 51 students out of more than 1000 applications worldwide
“I am honored, grateful, and ecstatic to have been chosen as the first New Mexican for the Brooke Owens Fellowship,” said Otero-Symphony. “When I was a young child, I wanted to become an astronaut; the heavens have awed and inspired me for as long as I can remember.”
Growing up, she was immersed in a society that told her she wasn’t good enough for STEM. But she never forgot her earliest dream. As a first-generation college student at UNM, she renewed her interest in STEM and realize that any obstacle can be overcame with a little grit, faith, and community.
Otero-Symphony is a senior studying statistics, and is now the first New Mexican to be selected for the Brooke Owens Fellowship, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit program recognizing outstanding undergraduate women and other gender minorities with a multitude of internship and mentorship opportunities.
Founded in 2016, the fellowship honors the memory of industry pioneer D. Brooke Owens, who passed away in June of that year from breast cancer. The fellowship commemorates the continuing mission and legacy of breaking the chronicled gender imbalance within the aerospace workforce.
This year’s class is the sixth class of ‘Brookie Fellows’ and named the most diverse one yet, with 51 students chosen out of more than 1000 applicants worldwide. The Brookie Fellows were chosen based on a number of factors including their commitment to their community, talent, and desire for a career in aerospace.
“Looking back, I notice that my life has been full of intersectionality and ‘firsts,’ and so I am excited to continue this as the first New Mexican in the most competitive and diverse fellowship class yet,” said Otero-Symphony. “Of course, I feel a bit of pressure whenever I feel the need to represent my state as a white-passing, blue-eyed Hispanic. However, my passion for New Mexico and Otero & Castellano roots overrides this hesitation.”
When the fellowship begins, she will work at aerospace consulting firm, Avascent, in Washington, D.C. and be matched with an executive-level mentor who will support and work with her to help her launch her career. She sees this internship as an opportunity to diversify her portfolio as a statistician and investigate real-world problems and gaps in aerospace research that need to be solved. Otero-Symphony also hopes that her diverse experience in the arts, humanities and leadership will provide her with the things needed to effectively maneuver through her consultation internship.
“Throughout my life, I have often been looked to for advice, and so I think this internship is quite the poetic attribute in my life’s story,” said Otero-Symphony. “Overall, I am confident that my involvement in the fellowship is just the beginning for me and future New Mexicans alike.”