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USRA Announces 2015 Scholarship Award Winners

The Universities Space Research Association is proud to announce the 2015 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. Jeremy Dietrich, a junior at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, won the James B. Willett Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. Willett's contributions to astrophysics. Dietrich has researched the habitable zones and biosignatures of exoplanets, and contributed to the search for hidden stellar companions to exoplanet host stars. He is a co-author on a paper on stellar evolution profiles and effects on variable composition on habitable systems. He is noted for his exceptional skills in computational astrophysics.

Jeremy Dietrich

Image: Jeremy Dietrich and Josh Grindlay (USRA's Council of Institutions Representative for Harvard University, Professor of Astronomy)

Mr. Anthony Hennig, a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering (with aerospace option) and minoring in Physics at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has been selected to receive the John R. Sevier Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. Sevier's contributions to aerospace science. With his passion for engineering, Hennig founded a student research group at RIT, raised funds, and is working toward developing a 3U cubesat bus. During his internships at NASA's Langley Research Center he developed tools to generate better space system and architecture concepts. Hennig volunteers for FIRST Robotics-Finger Lakes Region. He is also pursuing a master's degree in technology policy, focusing on the impacts of extraterrestrial mining on commodities markets.

Anthony Hennig and Elizabeth Bondi

Image:Left to Right: Risa Robinson (Professor, Mechanical Engineering, RIT); Anthony Hennig (Student, Mechanical Engineering); Zoran Ninkov (Professor, Center for Imaging Science, COI Representative, Rochester Institute of Technology); Elizabeth Bondi (Student, Center for Imaging Science); Mihail Barbosu (Professor, Mathematics).

Ms. Elizabeth Bondi, a senior imaging science major at the Rochester Institute of Technology, won the Thomas R. McGetchin Memorial Scholarship Award, which honors Dr. McGetchin's contributions to planetary science. Bondi is a highly-motivated, in-depth learner, and has applied her imaging science expertise to historical documents and planetary imagery. As an intern at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she characterized landing sites for the Insight Mars mission and also planned the test flight program for the proposed Mars Helicopter for the Mars 2020 Rover. She has also presented papers at STEM education conferences on project based learning and peer evaluations.

Ms. Namrah Habib, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering and chemical engineering at University of Arizona, won the Frederick A. Tarantino Memorial Scholarships Award, which honors Dr. Tarantino's contributions to USRA and his dedication to STEM education. Habib has worked extensively on preparations for the OSIRIS-Rex mission to the asteroid Bennu. She has performed surface analog analysis of asteroids, analyzed surface features of Mercury, and adapted existing stereo-imagery software for these purposes. She also participated in engineering verification of requirements for NASA's Space Launch System. She mentors high school students, has excellent communication skills, and is accomplished in martial arts, particularly Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Namrah Habib

Image: Left to right: Prof. Anthony Muscat, Head of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering; Dr. Daniella Della-Guistina, Image Processing Lead Scientist, OSIRIS-REx; Namrah Habib; Renu Malhotra, USRA's Council of Institutions Representative for the University of Arizona and Professor of Planetary Science; Prof. Cholik Chan, Associate head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering

"These outstanding students are poised to be future leaders in their fields," said Dr. James Lochner, USRA's Director of University Relations. "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 scholarship awards to outstanding students who have a career interest in the sciences or engineering with an emphasis on space research, space science education, or aeronautics. Information on the USRA Scholarship Award Program is available at http://www.usra.edu/about/outreach/scholarship/ .

About USRA

Founded in 1969, USRA is an independent research corporation with competencies that span space, Earth, and life sciences related disciplines, which are closely aligned with the nation's science and national security agencies. As a non-profit corporation with 105 major research university members, USRA's scientific and technical staff collaborates with over 400 universities annually. This depth of reach into the research community provides a unique platform for advancing science and technology and operations that depend on them.