09:30 AM

USRA Announces 2013 Scholarship Award Winners

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is proud to announce the 2013 winners of the annual USRA Scholarship Awards. USRA's scholarship selection committee has chosen an outstanding group of students in physical science and engineering disciplines from universities across the United States. These students have shown deep interest in space-related careers and research.

The winners of this year's USRA Scholarship Awards are:

Mr. Daniel Violette, a senior in the Engineering Physics program at the University of Connecticut, won the James B. Willett Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. Willett's contributions to astrophysics. Mr. Violette is an honors student and University Scholar at University of Connecticut. Mr. Violette has performed research at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center through summer internships. Mr. Violette also promotes science and engineering to high school students through his active participation in the UConn Engineering Ambassador program.

Ms. Laurel Paxton, a senior majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton, won the John R. Sevier Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. Sevier's contributions to aerospace science. Over the past two summers Ms. Paxton has held internships at the Jet Propulsion Lab. During her first summer, she led a team of other interns in constructing prototype star shades for missions studying exoplanets, and in the second she studied advanced chemical propulsion.

Laurel Paxton

Image: Laurel Paxton receiving a USRA Scholarship Award from Professor Edward Groth of the Physics Department at Princeton University and the USRA Council of Institution Representative at Princeton.

Mr. Peter Martin, a senior with a double major in Earth and Environmental Science and Chemistry at Wesleyan University, won the Thomas R. McGetchin Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. McGetchin's contributions to planetary science. As part of his undergraduate research projects, Mr. Martin redesigned a Mars chamber to better simulate the atmosphere, temperature, and pressure conditions on Mars. Mr. Martin plans to use his award to attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston this coming spring.

Peter Martin

Image: Peter Martin receiving the USRA Thomas R. McGetchin Scholarship Award from Professor Martha Gilmore, Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wesleyan University.

Mr. Michael Cantara, a junior in the Engineering Physics program at the University of Connecticut, won a USRA Education Scholarship. Through internships and independent study projects, Mr. Cantara has participated in research in fundamental particle physics and spectroscopic studies of combustion experiments.

Ms. Kaitlyn Martin, a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, also won a USRA Education Scholarship. In addition to her outstanding academic qualifications, Ms. Martin has a passion for robotics. She was president of her high school robotics team, is participating in her college team, and is mentoring a high school team. Ms. Martin is also active in her community, coordinating a recent "Relay for Life" cancer fundraiser in Golden, Colorado. Kaitlyn Martin

Image: Kaitlyn Martin receiving a USRA Education Scholarship Award from Professor Angel Abbud-Madrid, Director of the Center of Space Resources and USRA's Council of Institution Representative at the Colorado School of Mines.

"These outstanding students are poised to be future leaders in their fields," said Dr. James Lochner, USRA's Director of University Communications and Engagement. "USRA is pleased to recognize their accomplishments and support their academic careers."

The USRA Scholarship Award Program is an annual award program that provides college scholarships to outstanding students who have a career interest in the sciences or engineering with an emphasis on space research or space science education. Information on the USRA Scholarship Award Program is available at http://www.usra.edu/about/outreach/scholarship/ .

About USRA

Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers - on schedule and within budget.