Preparing for a Future in Flight

As a recipient of the 2021 Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, Aeronautics student Jenesis Tucker interned as a flight test engineer at Joby Aviation this summer.

Aeronautics major Jenesis Tucker feels set for success with the opportunities she’s received from the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. (Photo: Jenesis Tucker)
Aeronautics major Jenesis Tucker feels set for success with the opportunities she’s received from the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. (Photo: Jenesis Tucker)

Since her mother is an Embry-Riddle alumna, coming to ERAU felt like a natural choice for Jenesis Tucker (’23). Her first experience with the university was in the Aerospace Career Exploration Camp she attended at 16.

Tucker returned for the Flight Exploration Camp the following year, where she was able to fly every day and log flight hours. At that point, her decision to become an Eagle was final.

She has thoroughly enjoyed her experience as an Aeronautics student at Embry-Riddle so far, particularly the immersion in a community of people who have the same passion for aviation she does.

Currently in her junior year, she’s excited to dive into more of her major-specific courses in the upcoming semesters. In the past two years, her favorite course she has taken was Private Pilot Operations.

“It was fun to learn about something that I really want to do,” she said.

This February, Tucker was fortunate to receive the 2021 Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, which seeks to bring more Black undergraduate students into successful careers in the aerospace industry. This award came after a rigorous application process including several interviews with the fellowship staff and many industry-leading aerospace companies.

Through the fellowship, Tucker got the opportunity to learn the ropes interning as a flight test engineer at Joby Aviation over the summer. She worked with the flight test team in the ground control station where she gained experience as a scribe, uploading videos, creating operating procedures and more.

“It was my first internship, so it was interesting to see how the industry actually works,” she said. “I learned that anything is possible. If you have the right team, you can do anything.”

Tucker also serves as the treasurer for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP).

Throughout the years as a member of the group, she has had the opportunity to maintain a constant support system and interact with other students to help them build themselves professionally. As treasurer, she also handles the club’s finances for social and professional events, as well as fundraising.

During the remainder of her time at ERAU, she’s keeping her internship options open to ensure her experience is well rounded.

Following her graduation, Tucker’s career dreams are sky high. She hopes to either become a commercial pilot or join the military to fly Boeing C-17s.

To fellow students, her advice is to put yourself out there as much as possible.

“Do things even if you don’t think you can,” Tucker said. “You’re never going to feel completely ready for the next step, so you just have to go for it.”