Annual Capstone & Awards Banquet Held May 8th
The Space Studies Department held its Annual Capstone and Awards Banquet Wednesday, May 8, 2013. This year’s Capstone guest expert was Dr. John S. Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Dr. Lewis gave a presentation on near-earth asteroids and NEA resources at the event.
Recent awards to Space Studies faculty and students were recognized. Pablo de Leon received the North Dakota Sprit Faculty Achievement Award to recognize his contributions in teaching, research, and service. Dr. Paul Hardersen received the Graduate Teaching Excellence Award for exceling in graduate teaching and mentoring. The Dakota Space Society, a Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) Chapter at the University of North Dakota received the Women in Aerospace Award for being the SEDS chapter with the highest percentage of female members. This was the second consecutive year that the Dakota Space Society won this award. Jeff Cieszecki, a grade 7-12 teacher and Space Studies alumnus was recently awarded a national Certificate of Teaching Excellence by the Prime Minister of Canada for his work in “turning physics classes into a space academy by communicating with satellites and with rockets and high altitude balloon launches.”
Awards to current Space Studies students were also presented. This year’s recipient of the Ray Foundation Scholarship was Joshua Berk. This scholarship is given to students who maintain an excellent academic record and who have provided notable service to the department. A new scholarship, the Gary J. Olson Scholarship, was introduced this year, and the recipient was Nick Long, for maintaining an excellent academic record and providing notable service to the department. The Undergraduate Student of the Year Award went to outstanding student Marian Courtney, who is majoring in Commercial Aviation and Air Traffic Control, with a minor in Space Studies. The Graduate Student of the Year Awards are based on students’ excellent academic achievements, demonstrated service and leadership to fellow students, the department, college, university, and the community, and their contributions to a positive departmental environment. The distance student recipient was Maryellen Cronin and the campus student recipient was Joshua Berk. The North Dakota Space Grant Award for Outstanding Effort in Promoting STEM Education in North Dakota is given to a student who excels in academics and research, and service to the department. This year’s award was given to Marissa Saad for her excellent work with high altitude ballooning at the middle and high school levels.