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Hall of Fame astronaut Fred Gregory honors Syracuse University student with ‘The Right Stuff’
Hall of Fame astronaut Fred Gregory honors Syracuse University student with ‘The Right Stuff’ September 22, 2008Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Three-time Space Shuttle astronaut Fred Gregory will present Syracuse University senior Avi Hameroff with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a public presentation and ceremony, Thursday, Sept. 25, at 1:30 p.m. in SU’s Grant Auditorium.
Immediately following the award ceremony, Gregory will present a discussion of his out-of-this-world travels and how hard work made it possible for him to log more than 455 hours in space. The ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Irving Garage.
The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. Nineteen of these prestigious awards are dispersed each year through the ASF to outstanding college students majoring in a science or engineering field. These well-rounded students exhibit exceptional performance, initiative and creativity in their field, as well as intellectual daring and a genuine desire to positively change the world around them, both in and outside the classroom.
“I am pleased to be presenting Avi with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award,” says Gregory. “Avi is a bright, up-and-coming forerunner in the field of physics, and I feel honored to pass this award on to him so that he will be able to continue the United States’ great tradition of excellence in the science and engineering fields.”
A physics major in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Hameroff has focused his undergraduate research on the area of biophysics. One of his research projects involved testing a micro-CT scanner under the direction of SU physics professor Edward Lipson and Andrzej Krol, associate professor of radiology at SUNY Upstate Medical University. This past summer, Hameroff worked in the research laboratory of Brian Litt, assistant professor of neurology and bioengineering at the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, on a project to develop an implantable device that could be used to detect and prevent epileptic seizures. Hameroff’s career goal is to become a physician and clinical researcher. In his spare time, he is a physics tutor at SU and provides supplemental science enrichment programs for a local elementary school.
“Avi is a focused, hard-working and enthusiastic student of physics, chemistry and mathematics,” says Cristina Marchetti, chair of SU’s physics department. “He has a very interdisciplinary range of interests and likes to take on new challenges. I have no doubt that he will make important contributions both to his profession and to the community of people around him.”
Gregory piloted one space Space Shuttle mission, then went on to command two additional shuttle missions, making him the first African-American commander. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and George Washington University, Gregory began his flight experience as a pilot for the Air Force. In 1974, he was detailed as a research test pilot at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Four years later, NASA selected him for astronaut training. His first space assignment was as pilot for Challenger in 1985, when he and six crewmates held the company of 24 rats and two squirrel monkeys in the cargo bay’s 23-foot-long laboratory. His next two missions, aboard Discovery in 1989 and Atlantis in 1991, were Department of Defense missions. Gregory was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2004 and is very active today in the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation 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 more than $2.6 million in scholarships nationwide.
More information is available on the Web at http://www.AstronautScholarship.org or by calling (321) 455-7012.