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AAMU Student Receives Distinguished Scholarship

jarrett davis
February 09, 2022

Connecting Students to the Aerospace Field

An Alabama A&M University mechanical engineering major is a recent recipient of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, recently awarded to students at 26 institutions throughout the United States.

Jarrett Davis of Mobile, Ala., joins a list of 39 undergraduates in the Class of 2022.  The fellowship aims to connect the nation’s leading aerospace companies with talented Black students.  As part of the program’s rigorous selection process, each member of the program has earned a challenging summer internship in the aerospace field, in addition to receiving a scholarship worth thousands of dollars, a pair of personalized mentors, and more.

Davis will work for ABL Space Systems during this upcoming summer. He is one of two students selected for the award from the state of Alabama, joining Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Robert Boykin, who is also a native of Mobile, Ala.

“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 Fellowship honors “a beloved aerospace industry leader,” who overcame a system of legalized racial segregation.  As a young girl, Patti Grace Smith (then Patricia Jones) was one of a dozen Black students to integrate Tuskegee High School, and she was a plaintiff in a landmark case that integrated the public schools in Alabama, as upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Smith’s role leading the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation in the early days of the nation’s space renaissance is a highlight of her career. In 2021, she became the recipient of the prestigious General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, one of the highest honors available to aerospace professionals.