Applying to Engineering Fellowships?

Category Student Voices


Denzel Class of '24
Authored on October 12, 2023


As I sit here, reflecting on my journey as a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at Harvard, I’m humbled by the incredible opportunities and experiences that have shaped my path.

One particular milestone that I wish to dive into today is being selected as a Patti Grace Smith Fellow, a distinction that has opened doors I could only dream of when I first set foot on campus as a 19 year old freshman living through an ongoing pandemic.

Now the type of fellowship you pursue will very much depend on a variety of factors. Your concentration, your post graduation plans, your ethnicity/background, all of these will act as different forks in the path that will lead you to a different fellowship. In my case, I’ve always been heavily passionate about aeronautics and astronautics. As such, applying to fellowships such as Patti Grace Smith, Zed Factor, Matthew Isakowitz, and Brooke Owens would be the ideal situation for me. Less so on Brooke Owens though since that fellowship is focused solely on women in aerospace but you get the gist of what I mean.

Denzel and the rest of his fellow Patti Grace Smith fellows at Lockheed Martin.

That leads me to my next point though: when should you be applying to fellowships? You want to take the next step in your career and start exposing yourself to industry giants and making your profile more attractive to recruiters. Well, dear reader, the best time honestly is right now (if you’re reading this in the fall). Fellowships will often begin recruiting for new fellows during the beginning portion of the Fall semester to grant themselves ample time to read through applications and make decisions. But let’s say you’re super prepared and already knew that, what’s next?

Well, Speedy Gonzales, I’m impressed by your work ethic but you can relax for a little now. After deadlines have passed for application submission, the fellowships will begin reading through all the new applicants to decide who is worthy of moving forward and getting an interview by either a Fellow Alumni or one of the fellowship directors. These interviews will typically occur around late November or early December depending on the fellowship but you should be notified about being a semi-finalist if you’ve been selected as an interviewee.

And if you’re lucky (or skilled) enough to make it past the interview? You’ll be officially declared a finalist and given a pool of companies that best fit the criterias you want to work in. For me personally, I wanted a fast paced company that was working on cutting edge technology that has never been done before and Hermeus was exactly that company for me. Focusing on being the first company to construct hypersonic commercial planes capable of traveling at Mach 5 (to put this in context, instead of spending 7-8 hours on a plane to get from New York to London, you’d be able to get there in only 1.5 hours – it’s that fast) this was the environment I wanted to dip my toes into and it honestly worked out amazingly. I learned a plethora of information regarding the aerospace industry and made lifelong connections that I will be sure to reference in the future when the opportunity presents itself. And you too, dear reader, have the chance to do the same as well when you become selected as an official fellow for the fellowship that you decide to apply to. All that matters is getting started and hitting submit.


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Denzel Class of '24

Hey everyone! My name is Denzel and I’m a current junior from Boston, Massachusetts who is living in Currier House. By the time you’re reading this, I’ve already declared myself as a Mechanical Engineering concentrator with a secondary in Astronomy and am neck deep in psets and projects.