23 University of Virginia Students Receive Virginia Space Grant Consortium Scholarships

July 24, 2008 — Twenty-three University of Virginia students are among the 77 recipients of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium's $330,100 in scholarships and fellowships for students pursuing higher education at Virginia Space Grant universities and community colleges for the 2008-09 academic year. 

The University of Virginia received the highest number of awards, which were announced July 21. Virginia Tech received 20, the College of William & Mary received 11 and Old Dominion University received nine.

The VSGC is a coalition of five Virginia colleges and universities (University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, Hampton University and the College of William & Mary), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Virginia Community College System, Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, other state educational agencies and institutions representing aerospace education and research. 

Students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and other fields of study related to aerospace are eligible. A committee of consortium representatives awards funds based on academic merit, academic potential and letters of reference. Students' proposals are also judged on the quality of the research and its relationship to NASA’s mission.

VSGC provides monetary awards in five categories: 

Graduate research fellowships are $5,000 awards, renewable up to three years, for students pursuing any graduate study (masters or doctoral level) with aerospace relevance. The students’ universities contribute matching funds. VSGC awarded $200,000 in graduate research fellowships to 40 students. 

Undergraduate research scholarships are one-year, non-renewable awards of up to $8,500 for undergraduates pursuing any field of study with aerospace relevance and actively engaged in a research project. VSGC awarded $103,100 in undergraduate research scholarships to 13 students.

Teacher education STEM scholarships are $1,000 awards given to students in a track that leads to teacher certification in STEM at a pre-college setting. VSGC awarded $12,000 in teacher education scholarships to 12 students.

Community college STEM scholarships are $1,500 awards to community college students who have completed at least one semester of coursework and are pursuing a program of study in STEM and indicate an interest in aerospace. VSGC awarded $9,000 in community college scholarships to six students.

Freshman/sophomore bridge STEM scholarships are $1,000 awards to incoming first-year minority students attending any Virginia Space Grant University and majoring in a STEM field. Awardees are selected based on academic merit and career interest in STEM. Awards are renewable in the student’s sophomore year. VSGC awarded $6,000 to six first-year students in this new scholarship program.

Scholars and fellows must be engaged in an identified research project with a faculty adviser as part of their academic program. Students receiving awards present their research findings at an annual student research conference in the spring. VSGC freshman STEM scholars will also attend the 2009 conference.

“The VSGC Scholarship and Fellowship program is a very competitive program, and we continue to be impressed by the quality and intellectual merit of the research projects proposed by the students," Chris Carter, VSGC assistant director and coordinator of the VSGC scholarship and fellowship program," said. "We are very excited to be providing these 77 students with funding that directly impacts their ability to pursue their academic and research interests.

"We are particularly excited about the new freshman bridge STEM scholarship, which will assist undergraduate students in investigating their research interests and identifying research opportunities.”

Since the inception of the program in 1990, the Virginia Space Grant Consortium has awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships and fellowships to more than 800 students.   

More information on the consortium and its scholarship programs is available at http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/

University of Virginia recipients are:

Earle Dante, of Manassas, Va., a third-year student researching infrared spectroscopy using TripleSpec at the Apache Point, undergraduate research scholarship, $8,500.

Jacob Simon, of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching x-ray state transitions in black hole accretion dishes — the study of accretion of gas onto black holes, graduate research fellowship, $5,000.

Meredith Elrod of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the oxygen and oxygen ions produced by Saturn's rings, graduate research fellowship, $5,000.

Chad Smith of Cresaptown, Md., a Ph.D. candidate researching three-component velocity measurements inside a dual-mode scramjet combustor using an optical measurement, graduate research fellowship, $5,000.

Michael Francis of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the hydrogen embrittlement of aluminum, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Nicole Gugliucci of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the precision array to probe the epoch of re-ionization, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Keith Moored of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the development of a wing structure to mimic the flapping motions of manta ray for a new underwater vehicle, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Amy Reines of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the infant superstar clusters with the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, and determining the observable physical properties of these objects as they emerge from their birth material, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Gail Zasowski of Seymour, Tenn., a Ph.D. candidate researching constraining the interstellar dust distribution in the galactic disk using NIR/MIR observations of late-type giant stars and comparing them to dust-free models, graduate fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Christina Woods of Burke, Va., a master's candidate pursuing a degree in Earth Science Education, teacher education scholarship, $1,000.

Rolando Mendez of Charlottesville, Va., a third-year student studying the orbits and physical conditions of moons around extra solar planets to characterize the orbital stability and thermal evolution of these moons, undergraduate research scholarship, $8,500.

Vincent Zimmern of Dallas, a third-year student studying the two-dimensional multiple layer potential operators associated with the Dirichlet problem for the biharmonic equation in polygonal domains in two dimensions, undergraduate research scholarship, $8,500.

Daniel Wik of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching understanding the physics and observational effects of collisions between galaxy clusters, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Ryan Johnson of Catlett, Va., a third-year student researching effective project management for the University of Virginia's Hy-V flight experiment, undergraduate research scholarship, $8,500.

Christina Haden of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the development of an artificial excitable membrane for use as a tube pump, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Jenifer Warner of Massillon, Ohio. a Ph.D. candidate researching the effect of atmospheric corrosion on environmental fatigue crack propagation and its inhibition, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

William Eberhardt of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the sensing of external flow disturbances through a boundary layer, graduate research fellowship, $5,000.

Jason Howison of Palm Harbor, Fla., a master's candidate researching combustion efficiency of a scramjet engine using particle image velocimetry (PIV), graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Joleen Miller of Charlottesville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate searching for chemical evidence of planet engulfment in rapidly rotating red giants, graduate research fellowship, $5,000.

Joseph Battistelli of Staunton, Va., a Ph.D. candidate researching the distribution of autotrophic nitrifying microorganisms in biofilms, graduate research fellowship renewal, $5,000.

Stacey Fink of Virginia Beach, Va., a master's candidate pursuing a degree in secondary biology education, teachers education scholarship, $1,000

Thomas Bliss of Attleboro, a Ph.D. candidate researching CPG control of a tensegrity structure for biomimetic applications, graduate research fellowship, $5,000

Roy Hayes of Herndon, Va., a fourth-year student researching designing test beds for the purpose of testing algorithms that will be used for distributed processing in space. Test beds include an emulator and a simulator, undergraduate research scholarship, $8,500.