October 16, 2013

Two Students To Be Presented Prestigious Astronaut Scholarships

Robert Cabana

Space shuttle astronaut and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will visit Texas A&M University to present students Dillon Amaya and Amanda Couch each with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), during a public lecture and ceremony, Monday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. in Rudder Theatre. 

Sponsored by Honors and Undergraduate Scholarships and the Office of the Provost, the program is free and open to the public, but tickets to the event are required from the Memorial Student Center Box Office.

During the visit, Cabana will share his perspective as director of one of NASA’s best-known facilities, as well as his experiences as a NASA astronaut who, as a veteran of four space shuttle missions, spent more than 910 hours in space.

Astronaut Scholarships are the largest monetary awards available to United States science, technology, engineering, and math students based solely on merit. ASF has awarded more than $3.7 million to deserving students around the U.S. to date. Texas A&M students have earned a total of $220,000 from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation since 1986.

Dillon Amaya

Dillon Amaya is a senior majoring in meteorology and a member of the inaugural group of Undergraduate Research Ambassadors who has amassed a wealth of academic experience in paleoclimate research and related fields. He has studied hurricane formation in the Atlantic, dust accumulation in the South Pacific, free convective similarity functions at the University of Alaska, and water and air quality aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Ron Brown over 37 days at sea.  Amaya is a co-author on two publications currently under review. He looks forward to a career advancing science to the best of his ability.

Amanda Couch

Amanda Couch is a senior majoring in electrical engineering. She participates in the university honors program and minors in mathematics. She has done extensive research in the field of electromagnetics, space communications and antenna design, and has worked as an ISS Electrical Power Systems intern at Boeing. Couch has co-authored four scholarly presentations and publications. Her future goals include a career in applied research within the private sector.

“We are thrilled that two of our students were selected for this prestigious award this year, the first time in the history of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation that two scholarships have been awarded to the same institution,” says Dr. Sumana Datta, executive director of Honors and Undergraduate Research. “This tells us that the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation recognizes the academic strength we have among our students here at Texas A&M. It’s also a special opportunity to hear from each recipient at the awards program and also from one of the leaders within NASA and our space industry.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury program. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields.  ASF funds 28  $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded more than $3.7 million to deserving students nationwide. Today, more than 100 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.

For more information on the program, contact Peggy Samson in Public Partnership & Outreach, Office of the Provost, at (979) 845-6366 or peggys@tamu.edu.

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Media Contact: Peggy Samson, Office of the Provost, at (979) 845-6366 or Tura King, Division of Marketing & Communications, at (979) 845-4670

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