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Department of Aerospace Engineering freshman Savyon Stokes received a 2022 Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. Started in 2020, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship Program connects the nation’s leading aerospace companies with talented Black students.

Stokes joins 38 other students this year selected from across twenty-six colleges and universities.

“I am elated and honored to be a part of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship Program,” said Stokes. “It is amazing that there is an organization that is bringing together many exceptional Black students that are passionate about the aerospace field.”

Stokes’ aerospace interests lie in propulsion and space systems designs. To explore those fields beyond the classroom, he joined both the Terps Rocket’s Team and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and hopes to make future contributions to space exploration.

“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.”

Stokes is also active in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program and the Black Engineers Society, two programs which he said helped him build a community and find a supportive environment on campus.

Each member of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship Program’s Class of 2022 earn not only a challenging summer internship in the aerospace field—Stokes will work this summer at HawkEye 360—but they also receive a scholarship, personalized mentors, and more.

“I look forward to connecting with other fellows and the mentorship that I will receive,” added Stokes. “I see this fellowship as not only an opportunity for professional growth, but also a guide to creating opportunities for the next generation of Black engineers.”

Stokes is the fourth UMD aerospace engineering student to receive this fellowship, joining 2021 recipients Alexis Burris, Kirk “KJ” Mclean and Elias Hailu Daniel.



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February 9, 2022


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“I look forward to connecting with other fellows and the mentorship that I will receive. I see this fellowship as not only an opportunity for professional growth, but also a guide to creating opportunities for the next generation of Black engineers.”

Savyon Stokes, 2022 Patti Grace Smith Fellow

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