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2009 Student Fellowship Recipents



University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Jonathan HeinJonathan Hein is a senior Mechanical Engineering major at UNL. Hein is part of NASA's Microgravity University program and his team is studying the flow of lunar soil through a hopper at 1/6g. He will be attending graduate school at UNL starting in the summer of 2009 in the engineering mechanics department under Dr. Mehrdad Negahban. Hein is interested in Mechanics and aeronautics and enjoys traveling, living and studying abroad.


Evan HilgemannEvan Hilgemann was born and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended St. Stephen the Martyr through eighth grade. Evan developed an interest in engineering at Millard West High School and graduated from there with honors in 2008. He is currently a freshman mechanical engineering student at UNL and is working with other undergraduates on a research project through NASA's Microgravity University.


Andrew KelleyAndrew Kelley is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also getting minors in Physics, Mathematics, and Engineering Mechanics. Kelley plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a career in the space industry. He worked at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Denver, Colorado in the summer of 2007 as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant student intern. In the fall of 2007, he was in NASA's Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Kelley also participated in USRP at Kennedy Space Center in the summer of 2008. This semester he is leading a team for the Cansat design competition, and he is on UNL's Microgravity University team. Both of these projects are sponsored by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant.

Amy LehmanAmy Lehman received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in May 2003 and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in December 2007, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and is currently pursuing a a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mechanical Engineering under advisor Shane Farritor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interest is in the application of miniature robots for minimally invasive surgery.


Brett SchlueterBrett Schlueter is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to his interest in engineering and nearly all things mechanical, he enjoys music, hunting, fishing, and camping. A Regent's Scholarship recipient, Schlueter is a member of ASME, Tau Beta Pi, and the University Honors Program. He has been a tutor for the Engineering Mechanics Instructional Laboratory (EMIL), and a teacher's aid for a computer-aided drafting class. He expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in December 2009. His future plans include graduate school, and a career in the automotive or aerospace industries. Schlueter is currently the team leader for FAST, one of two University of Nebraska College of Engineering teams chosen in a national competition to participate in the 2009 NASA Microgravity University Systems Engineering Education Discover (SEED) program. Consisting of a team of engineering students, a faculty advisor, and a NASA Principal Investigator, FAST has been assigned to study the flow characteristics of Lunar Soil Simulants in 1/6 G environments. The team's research will include two flights onboard NASA's Reduced Gravity Aircraft at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.


Eric MarkvickaEric Markvicka is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He worked at Honeybee Robotics in New York, New York in the summer of 2008 as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant student intern. I am currently doing research under advisor Dr. Shane Farritor at UNL. Markvicka will spend the summer of 2009 at JPL as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow. 


Thomas FrederickTom Frederick is a junior mechanical engineering student at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. At the University, Frederick is member of ASME, the Engineering Student Advisory Board, and the University Honors Program. He currently is an undergraduate research assistant in the Mechanical Engineering Department working for Dr. Shane Farritor. During his spare time, Tom is involved with helping the CREATE Foundation, whose mission is to inspire and prepare future engineers and scientists. Frederick will spend the summer of 2009 at Lockheed Martin for as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow.


Nate OttenNate Otten is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. Otten says, "As long as I can remember I've thoroughly enjoyed taking things apart and learning how they work, which is most likely what led me to pursue a career in engineering." In his free time he enjoys playing games, listening to music, and watching movies. Otten will spend the summer of 2009 at Honeybee Robotics in New York City as NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow.


Justin GreenJustin Green will be graduating in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from UNL. Over the past four years at UNL Green been active in ASME and Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. His interests are in Robotics and Material Science. Last summer, he worked on the Abort Flight Test Articles Project under Amanda Cutright. Currently, he is a Research Assistant at UNL, conducting studies on bearing steels. Green is very excited to be returning to NASA Langley for a second internship this summer.


Katie Miller

Katie Miller first became interested in space after her seventh grade science project on rockets. She is currently pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and plans to graduate in May of 2010. After graduation, she hopes to attain a PhD in Electrical Engineering. Miller is very active in extracurricular activities including IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu, and intramural sports. Her interest in space has carried with her into her undergraduate studies. She is currently working on the CanSat Design Competition. For this, her team is building an autonomous sensor that will be shot up as a payload in a NASA rocket and then have a controlled descent to the ground. She has also been a research assistant for the last two years and has worked on projects for data compression of satellite images and the control system of autonomous helicopters. She is excited for this upcoming summer where she will be participating in NASA Robotics Academy Internship and believes it will help greatly her goal of working at NASA after graduation.


Andrea GilkeyAndrea Gilkey is will be a senior majoring in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall. She has conducted research in Nonviral Gene Delivery and Tissue Engineering in Lincoln. She is now a summer intern at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston studying Anthropometrics and evaluating the current seats in the Crew Exploration Vehicle in suited and unsuited crew members. She is honored to have the opportunity to work at NASA this summer.



Lee ReddenLee Redden received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in May 2009 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an undergraduate he participated in research under Dr. Shane Farritor, research abroad, 3 internships, the 2008 NASA Microgravity Team, and ASME student design competitions. This summer as part of the Goddard Robotics Academy Lee will be a team lead working on a mobile robot platform at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow who will start graduate school at Stanford in the fall.


Chase TaylorChase Taylor  is pursuing a degree in both Chemical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has a well formed passion for traveling abroad and lived in both France and Switzerland while interning. This is his second internship at NASA Langley and plans on working with them in the future. He plans on pursuing a Masters Degree in Material Science with an emphasis on polymers and nanotechnology.



Photo Not yet AvailableOther Awardees: Cahterine May, Emily Peterman, and Maria Becker




University of Nebraska - Kearney

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Bobbi Arnold
is a junior at UNK and plans to continue on to graduate school and earn a Ph.D.Arnold is currently working with Dr.Liubov Kreminska involving liquid crystals. When Arnold is not in school, she likes to play music on a variety of different instruments, play sports, and read.



Carl CorderCarl Corder graduated from Kearney High School in 2004, and has since been a full time student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. If you have not noticed, Carl loves his home town of Kearney! During high school, Carl became interested in both math and physics, and unable to decide which subject he liked more, chose to get a Bachelor of Science degree in both Mathematics and Physics. Suffice to say, Carl now spends his time doing research, reading, and scratching his head over various math problems. Carl is also studying Optical phase singularities under Professor Luibov Kreminska, and is very proud to be awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant for his work. As Carl finishes up his senior year, he looks forward to beginning his graduate school career in applied mathematics.


Vanessa EngquistVanessa Engquist is currently a senior at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, with a major in Physics and a special interest in optics. Vanessa is preparing to attend graduate school; however, she is also considering a career as an optometrist because of her keen interest in how the eye works. Vanessa's hobbies include traveling (especially to foreign countries), reading, camping, and spending time with family and friends.


Grant SaltzgaberGrant Saltzgaber is a junior at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he is majoring in physics. Grant attended high school at Palmer Public High School in Palmer, NE. His future endeavors include graduate school in physics.



Jeremy StromerJeremy Stromer is a junior at UNK and is majoring in physics. Stromer am doing a research project on liquid crystals with Dr. Liubov Kreminska. He is a 2007 graduate of Doniphan-Trumbull High School. After college he would like to earn his Ph.D. although he is not sure where and in exactly what field. Outside of school he enjoy playing sports, especially golf, riding his motorcycle and playing the guitar.


Dawn CarrilloDawn Carrillo is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska in Kearney. She is majoring in meteorology. She is the first person in her family to attend college and she is very passionate about her career and education. She hopes to contribute to the research of weather and the atmosphere.


Michelle McPherronMichelle McPherron is currently a graduate student in the Biology Department at UNK with a focus on Wildlife Biology and GIS. Originally from North Platte, NE, she received her Bachelors of Science in Zoology from Colorado State University in 2001. Her current research project focuses on building a GIS model through use of satellite imagery and field data that identifies American Burying Beetle occurrence in Nebraska. In her free time she enjoys rock climbing, camping, snowboarding, and traveling.



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Other Awardees: Kyle Smyra, Benjamin Fullerton, and Josh Beck




University of Nebraska - Medical Center

Jessie HuisingaJessie Huisinga is currently pursuing her doctorate in the study of Biomechanics through the MSIA program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Originally from Iowa, she received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa in May 2004. After working for a small biomechanics consulting firm, she received a graduate assistantship from the HPER Department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to pursue her Master's degree in Exercise Science which was received in August 2007. For the past three years she has been involved in research within the HPER Biomechanics Laboratory focused on the gait mechanics and movement variability of healthy and pathological populations. She is currently the gait study coordinator for an ongoing Multiple Sclerosis project sponsored by the MARS Foundation.


Sara MyersSara Myers is in the second year of her doctoral degree in Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She is working in the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility where she conducts research focusing on clinical gait analysis in elderly and pathological populations. Her faculty mentor at UNO is Dr. Nick Stergiou. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2004 and her Masters of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2007. Her current research project focuses on the relationship between cognitive performance and gait patterns in healthy young, healthy elderly and elderly individuals with a history of falling. Sara was awarded a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship to investigate the interactions between: 1) attentional demanding tasks and gait patterns and 2) verbal tasks and gait patterns in healthy young subjects.


Jennifer YentesJennifer Yentes is a first year doctoral student in Biomechanics and Motor Control at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is currently working at the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility at UNO as a graduate assistant under the direction of Dr. Nick Stergiou. This facility is dedicated to the discovering of the neuromuscular control mechanisms of human movement patterns. Jennifer earned her Bachelors of Arts in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Biomechanics from the University of Northern Colorado in 2000. She graduated with her Maters in Science in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton in 2006. Her current research interests include the analysis of gait in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Jennifer has been awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowship to investigate gait adaptations of COPD patients as compared to healthy controls.

Photo Not yet AvailableOther Awardee: Jason Porta



University of Nebraska at Omaha

University of Nebraska - Omaha

Nick JohnsonNick Johnson is a senior Aviation Major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He enjoys all facets of aviation and hasworked in general aviation as well as the airlines. Johnson is currently an intern for the Omaha Airport Authority.







Michael CameronMichael Cameron is a second year graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a concentration in Aviation Administration. Michael completed his undergraduate program in Aviation Administration and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University in May of 2008. Michael recently competed in the 2008 FAA Design Competition for Universities, where he and his team won national recognition for their paper on fuel efficiency in the airport environment. Michael is currently a graduate assistant for the Aviation Institute as well as an research intern for the government. Michael will be traveling to the National Business Aviation Association conference to learn about corporate aviation and the current research in the field of aviation.



Grant GargettGrant Gargett graduated from Omaha Creighton Prep and spent a couple of years at Saint Louis University. He made the decision to return to Omaha and attend UNO. Like many students in the Aviation Institute he was initially drawn to the idea of being a pilot and will soon complete reiquirements for his private pilot license. However, after talking with teachers and friends in the industry he has made the decision to change to the Bachelor of Science in Aviation with a Specialization in Air Transport Administration. Gargett has found this program both fun and challenging and will be graduating in May 2010. Outside of school he works at Omaha Eppley Airport as a ramp and operations agent contracted with American Airlines. He is looking forward to graduation and the opportunity to start a career in aviation in airport planning, with the airlines, or some other exciting possibility he has yet to consider.

Justin IdleJustin Idle is an undergraduate student in the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute. He was awarded the NASA Space Grant to travel to Orlando, Florida in October 2009 for the National Business Aviation Association convention in order to gain further knowledge and experience in the business aviation community. Justin is working towards his Bachelor of Science in Air Transport Administration and anticipates graduating in December 2010. With this degree, he hopes to obtain a position in airport operations. 

Christina EtzrodtChristina Etzrodt is a graduate student in the Geography department at UNO with a focus in GIS. She have worked since August 2005 for the Bethsaida Excavations Project through the International Studies department were she has digitized the last twenty two years of dig drawings and maps of the ancient city of Bethsaida in Northern Israel. She has participated in the 2007 & 2008 excavation season in Israel and will be returning in 2009. She also assists in the coordination of the Batchelder Biblical Archaeology Conference every fall.


No Photo AvailableBryan Johnson is a senior Mathematics major at the University of Nebraska - Omaha. Current research for the NASA Space Grant involves a numerical method known as the Discontinuous Galerkin Method. This method is effective at approximating solutions to various partial differential equations.During this past school year, he was employed by Nebraska Methodist College Upward Bound program where he tutored high school math. When not researching, working,or studying for actuarial exams, Bryan enjoys playing bluegrass music on guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

Ryan NickellRyan Nickell is a graduate student in the University of Nebraska at Omaha Peter Kiewit Institute. He obtained an Associates degree in Computer Science from Metropolitan Community College of Omaha, Nebraska and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from UNO. In December, 2009 he will obtain a Master's in the same field with a concentration in artificial intelligence. His research interests include knowledge engineering and web intelligence, natural language processing, open source intelligence, ontologies, swarm robotics, image processing, Web 2.0, and agile software development methods. He has been employed by UNO PKI Technology Development Corporation and has worked in the artificial intelligence and bioinformatics scenes. His hobbies include writing code and getting paid for what he enjoys doing.

 Timothy Stoebner
Timothy Stoebner is a Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant for the Geography Department at UNO. He received a BS in GIS and BA in Geography at South Dakota State University in 2006. He was a South Dakota NASA Space Grant recipient for which he performed GIS duties pertaining to a research project conducted by Dr. Mike Crane with the USGS at the EROS Data Center. His interests are applied GIS/Remote Sensing for wetland and watershed research and land use as it pertains to water resources.



Chadron State College

Kodi YoungKodi Young was born and raised in western Nebraska. After graduating high school at Crawford, she attended Chadron State College. Young earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education with a subject endorsement in natural science. She is currently taking classes at Chadron State College to earn a Master of Education in Geology.



Photo Not Yet AvailableOther Awardees: Jesse Zwiebel & Jennifer Balmat




College of Saint Mary

Juana AcostaJuana Acosta is an undergraduate student at College of Saint Mary majoring in Biology and Chemistry and minoring in Forensic Science. Acosta is a Marie Curie Scholarship recipient and a College of Saint Mary Distinguished Scholar. Upon graduation from College of Saint Mary she hopes to attend medical school and achieve her career goal of becoming a facial reconstructive surgeon.



Cheslee CornellCheslee Cornell is an undergraduate student at College of Saint Mary majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Forensic Science. She is a Sister Mary Francis recipient. Upon graduation from College of Saint Mary Dean hopes to utilize her skills College of Saint Mary has given her to work in the Pharmaceutical industry.




Chelsea DeanChelsea Dean is an undergraduate student at College of Saint Mary. Dean is majoring in Biology and Chemistry (Pre-med) and minoring in Spanish. She is a Marie Curie Scholar, Mother Leo Gallagher Scholar, American Legion Scholar and a INBRE Scholar. After graduating from Saint Mary she plans to attend medical school and study pediatrics. Then Dean plans to specialize in domestically and sexual assaulted women and children.



Samantha MarquezSamantha Marquez was always encouraged to follow her dreams. During her elementary years she was encouraged by her instructors to pursue a career in science. I am currently attending the College of Saint Mary. The NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship is allowing me to pursue my interest in the sciences. I am majoring in Biology and Mathematic with a minor in Chemistry. My interests outside of the classroom are wide spread. I have a love for music, movies, food, and football. I aim to complete my post-graduate education at CSM and enroll in medical school. I would like to follow a career in pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery.


Photo Not Yet AvailableOther Awardees: Emali Chaidez, Erin Kastrup, Yvette Ramirez, Amanda Smith, Jaclyn Swanger, Diana Torres



Creighton University

Brianna BreiBrianna Brei is a junior pre-med undergraduate at Creighton University double majoring in Biology and Dance with a minor in Math. She has conducted biological research with Genetics professor, Dr. Charles Brockhouse for the past three years. She is currently continuing her work begun under the Ferlic scholarship with Simullids, analyzing the protein structure of their silk protein, a natural absorptive polymer. At the moment, Brianna is analyzing the species of black flies which she collected in Ireland for her research during her study abroad semester.



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Ross Caniglia is a student at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He is majoring in Atmospheric Sciences and plans to pursue employment with the National Weather Service. From a very young age, Caniglia has been interested in weather, even going so far as to draw the current weather "synopsis" on his chalkboard in his almost every day. Not surprisingly, his passion for weather has continued to grow, and he looks forward to his career in the future. When not looking at the weather, Caniglia enjoy playing piano, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and spending time with family and friends.


Jeff Hamilton is a junior in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. Jeff is from Highlands Ranch, CO just outside of Denver. His hobbies included outdoor activities especially camping and hiking, however, he is also a big college football fan. Jeff's current plans are to graduate from Creighton and attend graduate school where he will either strive for a Masters or Ph. D. Beyond that, he hopes to become an Atmospheric researcher dealing with mesoscale severe weather events, yet that is not definite.


Photo Not Yet AvailableMatthew Metivier is from Leavenworth, Kansas and currently attends Creighton University as a freshman. Matthew is majoring in computer science and minoring in physics. He has been interested in the sciences since his junior year in high school when he took his first physics class. Matthew likes to know how objects and phenomenon work and how to improve or change the process that makes them work.



Kenneth HarmonKenneth Harmon has lived in Bothell, Washington all his life, where he graduated from Bothell High School in 2006. Harmon developed an interest in weather and climate at a very young age, but it was not until his junior year in high school that he decided he wanted to pursue weather professionally and become a meteorologist. Currently, Harmon is a junior at Creighton University, where he is majoring in Atmospheric Science.



 Sandra Behncke
Sandra Behncke's enthusiasm for Astrophysics started quite a while ago. "I've wanted to conduct space research since I was a little girl to further the knowledge of our planet's past and understand our mysterious universe." Sandra has been working on broad-absorption line quasar (BALs) research with Dr. Gabel since January 2008 and will continue until she graduates in May. By then, she hopes to determine "if mass outflow is characteristic of all quasars, settling the battle between the orientation and evolution theories. Sandra has also recently received a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship to partcipate in a Summer 2009 Internship at JPL.

Allison ShowalterAllison Showalter is a senior at Creighton University pursuing a degree in Physics with minors in Math and Biblical Studies. She has been researching the nature of broad absorption line quasars with Dr. Jack Gabel since the fall of 2007. In her free time, Allison enjoys baking and playing sports, and she is an avid fan of the Creighton soccer teams. Her future plans are quite fluid, but will probably involve graduate school or post-graduate volunteering.






Hastings College


Jason GerritsenJason Gerritsen was born in Hastings Nebraska and am still living here today. After Hastings High School, Gerritsen attended Hastings College studying in the areas of Physics and Math. At Hastings College he enjoys playing Tennis on the H.C. Tennis Team. After college Gerritsen hopes to get a job as an engineer with future plans to continue his education.



Jordan NeuhartJordan Neuhart is from Deshler, NE. He is currently attend Hastings College in Hastings, NE where he is majoring in Physics and Computer Science. Neuhart is interested in many areas, primarily electronics and music, and plans on pursuing a Master's degree in either electrical engineering or computer science.




Photo Not Yet AvailableOther Awardees: Joseph Jeanjaquet & Brian Steinert




Little Priest Tribal College


My Soul Earth KearnesMy Soul Earth Kearnes is attending Little Priest Tribal College and will soon graduate with an Associate of Science in Business Administration. Kearnes has been on Little Priest Tribal College Student Senate and attended American Indian Higher Education Consortium for the past two years. She plans to attend University of Nebraska at Omaha to get her Bachelor's in Business of Management. She is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.




Metropolitan Community College

No Photo AvailableTim Swoboda holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from UNL and is currently pursuing his Masters of Science degree through UNO and is taking classes at Metropolitan Communtiy College in Omaha, NE. Tim developed an interest in technology during his service in the Gulf War where his exposure to the latest in war time technology became a fascination. This fascination is the driving force behind Tim's goal of becoming a subject matter expert in area of Network Configuration and Security.


Julynda BohlmanJulynda Bohlman has an Associates degree in Education from Western Iowa Tech Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Iowa State University and a Masters of Arts degree in Museum Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After developing an interest in information technology she started taking Web Development classes at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. She is taking classes at Metropolitan Community College as she is currently working on two degrees at Creighton University, a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Information Technology Management.

Sara McManusSara McManus received a BA in Psychology from the Univerity of Kansas in 2005. She is currently pursueing a nursing degree while taking classes at Metropolitan Community College.




Cassie BenakCassie Benak received a BA in Psychology and is now pursueing a nursing degree while taking classes at Metropolitan Community College.


Nebraska Indian Community College

No Photo AvailableTroy Munhoffen






Jeramie KeyJeramie Key is currently a junior attending Nebraska Indian Community College. He will be finishing up his Associate of Science in Business Administration this fall and filling up on electives required to complete the Bellevue University one year Bachelors program. Although he is a business major, his true love is natural resources and he will be close to completing the Associate of Science in Natural Resources by Spring Semester 2010. Jeramie would someday like to work for one of the local Tribal or State governments, preferably in the Natural Resources Department.



Northeast Community College


No Photo AvailableGregory Kesting




Western Nebraska Community College


Josh WooleryJosh Woolery is from Oshkosh, NE. Throughout his career at Western Nebraska Community College he has been involved in Student Government and is currently the Ambassador for Residence Life. He is also a part of Campus Ventures, Student Ambassadors, and the Technology Electronics Club. He is planning to graduate in May 2010 then transfer to a university to continue is education towards a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology.

Jonathan SpurgeonJonathan Spurgeon is a physics major at Western Nebraska Community College. He is also a counselor for the Future Astronaut Training Program at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.



Photo Not Yet AvailableOther Awardee: Jason Hamilton