Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell to present scholarship award to Syracuse University senior Christopher Tarolli
Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell to present scholarship award to Syracuse University senior Christopher TarolliOctober 17, 2006Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell will present a $10,000 scholarship award to Syracuse University senior Christopher Tarolli on behalf of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a Thursday, Oct. 19, presentation in Room 1-019 of Syracuse University’s Center for Science and Technology. The University community is welcome to attend.
Mitchell will begin the presentation at 1:30 p.m. by sharing the story of the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971 and his perspective on the experience. He will then present the scholarship award to Tarolli, a resident of East Syracuse who is a double major in chemistry and Spanish in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Tarolli will be known as a 2006 Astronaut Scholar.
The Astronaut Foundation selects students for the award who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the fields of science and engineering. “It is vital that America remain a technological leader in the world, and that responsibility rests upon the future generations, particularly students like Christopher Tarolli,” Mitchell says.
Tarolli has been interested in chemistry since high school, when James Donohue, his teacher at East Syracuse-Minoa High School inspired his interest in the subject. Last summer, he worked in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and became interested in biochemistry. For nearly a year, he has worked with Professor David Gilbert of the biochemistry and molecular biology department at SUNY Upstate Medical University on research involving imaging DNA replication origins. Tarolli hopes that one day his results can be applied to stem cell research.
Alongside Tarolli’s scientific interests are his passions for singing, drama and Spanish. He is a member of the First Year Players (FYP), a student-run musical theatre company at SU, and Orange Appeal, SU’s only all-male a cappella group. In his sophomore year, Tarolli sang with the University Singers and the Hendricks Chapel Choir. Last year, he spent a semester abroad in Spain.
“Chris is a very diligent, gifted and enthusiastic person who works very hard but is gentle and thoughtful in his interactions with others,” says James Spencer, Soling Program director and a chemistry professor who previously served as Tarolli’s academic advisor and nominated him for the award. “I was impressed by his ability to push his own comfort zones and remain interested in broadening his understanding not only of chemistry but also of the greater world.”
Tarolli plans to continue his education after graduating in May and is currently applying to M.D. and Ph.D. programs.
Tarolli is the seventh SU student to be named an Astronaut Scholar but the first from The College of Arts and Sciences. SU students selected for the prestigious scholarship have traditionally come from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Mitchell was selected as a NASA astronaut in April 1966 after graduating first in his class from the Aerospace Research Pilot School, where he was both a student and an instructor. He was assigned to the Apollo 14 mission as the lunar module pilot, along with Alan Shepard, commander, and Stuart Roosa, command module pilot. On Feb. 5, 1971, Shepard and Mitchell landed their lunar module, Antares, in the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands. During their 33 hours on the moon’s surface, Shepard and Mitchell made two outside excursions in which they set up a nuclear-powered science station, collected 92 pounds of moon rocks and gathered soil samples.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving Project Mercury astronauts. The goal of the foundation is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for exceptional college students pursuing degrees in these fields. The foundation funds 18 $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded more than $2.3 million to more than 210 students nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.astronautscholarship.org.