Astronaut Eileen Collins to present SU student with $10,000 scholarship check, give public lecture
Astronaut Eileen Collins to present SU student with $10,000 scholarship check, give public lectureSeptember 12, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Space shuttle astronaut and Syracuse University alumna Eileen Collins ’78, H’01 will present Rebecca Rought, a senior aerospace engineering major in SU’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a presentation and ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 9:30 a.m. in the Kilian Room, Room 500 of the Hall of Languages. Collins will also give a free public lecture following the award presentation. Parking is available in the University’s visitor pay lots.
This prestigious award is one of 19 made available each year through the ASF. The scholarships are awarded to college students who have exhibited exceptional performance initiative and creativity in science or engineering. While scholarship recipients must display intellectual daring and have considerable laboratory and research experience, the committee also looks for well-rounded students who are involved in campus and community activities. Syracuse students have been honored with this award since 1994.
“These scholarships are a way for myself and my fellow astronauts to give back to a country that provided us with an extraordinary opportunity,” says Collins, who received bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics from SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Rebecca will be one of the many future leaders who will keep the United States at the edge of breakthrough technology, and I consider it an honor to be presenting her with this check.”
Rought, of Merrimack, N.H., holds a 4.0 academic average. She helps middle school students with science experiments through the SRC/LCS Engineering Tutoring Program at Blodgett Middle School in Syracuse. In 2006, she became a student member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is currently the chapter secretary. She plays active roles in SU’s engineering sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon, where she has served as social chair and assistant membership educator. She has also interned at BAE Systems, is a member of the Syracuse University Marching Band and is a 2007-08 Remembrance Scholar.
“Rebecca’s academic performance would easily place her among the top 1 percent of all mechanical and aerospace engineering students I have met in the past 15 years,” says Thong Dang, professor and aerospace engineering program director.
“Rebecca drives herself to produce top-quality results in everything she does, from classwork to research to extra-curricular activities,” says John Dannenhoffer, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who is Rought’s research mentor.
Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1990, Collins logged 872 hours in space on four shuttle missions. She piloted the first flight of the joint American-Russian Space Program aboard Discovery in 1995. She flew in the pilot’s seat again in 1997 aboard Atlantis, where she and her crew docked with the Russian space station Mir. In 1999, Collins made history during the STS-93 mission by being the first female space shuttle commander, bringing Columbia to deploy the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Telescope into space. She commanded her last mission in 2005 aboard Discovery, the first flight after the Columbia accident in 2003. Collins retired from NASA in 2006 and remains an avid support of the ASF.
The ASF is a nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts. Its goal 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 the science or engineering field of their major. ASF funds 19 $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded nearly $2.5 million to 226 students nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.AstronautScholarship.org.