Neil Thurgood
Aerospace engineering senior Amber Rose Porteous, UAH’s newest Brooke Owens Fellow and President of the UAH Space Hardware Club.
Michael Mercier | UAH

Amber Porteous, an aerospace engineering senior from Mobile, Ala., slated to graduate in May, has been selected to receive the Brooke Owens Fellowship. The student is the second Brooke Owens Fellow from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, in the past two years, joining 2022 Fellow Megan Jordan.

“Amber is a great example of what I believe a student should be,” says Dr. Richard Tantaris, a clinical assistant professor in the MAE department and faculty advisor for the Space Hardware Club (SHC). “She is very smart, hardworking and able to handle huge responsibilities such as Space Hardware Club president. She has a great personality and has demonstrated her desire and ability to help people, bring new ideas forward and learn about the aerospace industry.”

The fellowship class of 2023 includes 47 Fellows selected from nearly 1,000 applicants worldwide. Each Fellow is matched with an aerospace internship, as well as an executive-level mentor who will support and work with them to help launch their careers.

The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of industry pioneer and pilot D. Brooke Owens, who passed away in 2016. The program celebrates its ongoing mission and legacy of disrupting the historical gender imbalance in the aerospace industry by continuing its mission to provide opportunities and access to talented young professionals from women and gender minorities from all backgrounds.

Porteous will be interning with Lonestar Lunar, a startup company in St. Petersburg, Fla., that plans to send data centers to the Moon. “They are looking to send up a payload later on this year,” she notes. “That’s what I will be working on this summer.”

The UAH senior is the current president of the SHC and has been active with the Two-Month Glider Challenge, both the CanSat and Tartarus projects, and acted as the Outreach Manager for the club to share aerospace engineering knowledge with K-12 students. As the Project Lead, she also helped to establish an amateur ham radio contact with the International Space Station.

“CanSat is an international mock satellite competition,” Porteous notes. “I worked on the mechanical subteam to make parachutes, early payload prototypes and fiberglass shell manufacturing, and my team placed 5th in the competition. Tartarus is the SHC liquid bi-propellant rocketry team, and I learned the basics of LabVIEW through the project.”

The senior is currently on the CROSSGUARD team as well, which focuses on composite manufacturing and documentation for the SHC. She presides over a group of 260 student members across all projects, helping them to gain hands-on experience designing and building aerospace hardware.

“I wanted to take on this role, because I have a lot of passion for aerospace and mentoring,” she explains. “SHC has been a big part of my college experience in becoming more confident in myself as a leader and engineer.”

As to her future, Porteous says she would like to work with composite structures or satellite systems. “I would also like to become a STEM teacher after having a career in engineering,” she says. “Or start up a non-profit that focuses on bringing STEM education to communities where K-12 students may not have as many opportunities in the field.”