University of Dubuque Student Earns Prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship

Feb 3, 2020 | BY: STACEY ORTMAN

Rebekah Godwin

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque senior Rebekah Godwin has earned a prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship. The fellowship provides paid internships and executive mentorship for exceptional undergraduate women and gender-minority students in aerospace. This is the first year UD has been represented in the program.

Godwin, a flight operations and aviation double major, was one of only 40 women selected from a pool of over 500 applications to be named to the Brooke Owens Fellowship Class of 2020.

“I love that this program allows women and gender-minorities to represent ourselves and make waves in the industry while connecting with and mentoring other incredible women in aerospace. The connections through mentors and friendships I will make and have already made are going to lead to success and last a lifetime. Once a Brookie, always a Brookie,” Godwin said

“Brookies” are selected for the fellowship based on their talent, experience, commitment to service, and creativity. Their experience in the program is designed to help them grow in each of those areas, turning promising students into thriving leaders, according to

As part of the program, Godwin will intern at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. She said she is excited to join the organization this summer.

Polly Kadolph, an associate professor of aviation, nominated Godwin. She said Godwin is committed to making a difference for the aviation family and regularly organized events.

“One of the things I cherish most about teaching at the University of Dubuque is how smaller class sizes allow faculty the opportunity to interact on several levels with our students and really get to know them. Rebekah is a woman with multi-faceted interests, a compassionate heart, and a bright and open-minded outlook. She has the ‘special sauce’ – such a unique blend of personality and capabilities,” Kadolph said.

While at UD, Godwin expanded her interest in flight from the classroom to volunteerism. She is president of Women in Aviation at UD and was involved with American Association of Airport Executives.

“One of my favorite things each year is participating in the international Girls in Aviation Day. One day each year, WAI chapters worldwide put on events that are meant to encourage and inspire middle and high school-aged girls with an interest in aviation and show them opportunities they have in the field. I remember when I was in high school receiving a bag from what I believe was the first-ever Girls in Aviation Day event from Professor Kadolph. I really appreciated it as it reignited my passion and I won’t ever forget that,” Godwin said.

Aviation has always been a part of Godwin’s life. Her father, Kenneth Godwin, assistant professor of aviation, has always worked in the aviation industry.

“I had so many great opportunities to travel to different cities on short notice for a weekend trip or even just a day. It is incredible to me how small the world becomes when you have the ability to fly from place to place. I have been able to see so many cities in the U.S., travel to Mexico on mission trips to serve others, and fly to Cuba to visit family members. I would never have been able to experience all that I have without aviation and I want to continue to do this and be able to do it for others as well,” Godwin said.

The Brooke Owens Fellowship was created to honor of the legacy of space pioneer Dawn Brooke Owens to “serve as both an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women and other gender minorities who, like Brooke, aspire to explore our sky and stars, to shake up the aerospace industry, and to help their fellow people here on planet Earth,” according to

“The Brooke Owens Fellowship is a family of intelligent, powerful women and mentors in aerospace that would make Brooke Owens proud,” Godwin said. “I am certain that my 2020 Brookies are going to make waves in the aerospace industry and I am proud to be a part of it.”