Graduate Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

Last Updated on May 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Originally published May 30, 2017

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

A UTEP mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate is one of only 35 graduate female students in the world selected for the 2017 Amelia Earhart Fellowship. The distinguished awards are given through Zonta International, a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Alejandra Castellanos
Alejandra Castellanos

“I knew from the beginning which schools I was going up against,” said Alejandra Castellanos, a 26-year-old Ph.D. candidate and fellowship recipient. “I was worried because these are top schools with everything you could possibly imagine, but with what I have learned here at UTEP, that gave me confidence I needed.”

The fellows pursuing doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering are from 18 countries and studying fields as diverse as electrical engineering, fluid dynamics and space technology. Castellanos is the only candidate selected in the southwestern United States to receive this award, and one of two Mexican nationals chosen. She is among fellows from schools such as MIT, Stanford, Purdue and the University of Cambridge.

Earhart was an American aviation pioneer who became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Known for her strong persona and her firm belief in equal rights, today she is honored through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship. Since the program’s inception, Zonta International has awarded 1,543 Amelia Earhart Fellowships, totaling more than $9.7 million, to 1,114 women from 71 countries.