Space Foundation Press Releases

Space Foundation announces first `Ascent` scholarship winners

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.(Mar. 11, 2004) — The Space Foundation announced today the first winners of the Ascent awards, a scholarship program that offers students an insider’s view of the stimulating work that the space business affords. The program is designed to stimulate interest among college students in pursuing high technology careers in the aerospace industry – it offers students financial assistance for academic expenses and specialized opportunities to interact with the industry leaders through a variety of forums and activities. Students are selected through an annual competition. Each student selected receives a unique aerospace industry award valued at more than $10,000, including a scholarship cash award of up to $5,000; a sponsored attendance at 2004 space-related conferences, including the 20th National Space Symposium or Space Foundation Space Discovery graduate courses; an internship with an industry sponsor; and the opportunity to visit a space-related site or event of his/her choice. This year’s winners will be honored during the Space Foundation’s premier space conference, the 20th National Space Symposium, scheduled March 29 – April 1, 2004, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Criteria for those entering the competition includes a university major in math, science, engineering or computer sciences; completion of two years of college within a specified major; 3.0 grade point average or higher; and a stated interest and perspective about careers in aerospace. This year’s winners are

  • Don Grissom, a junior at Metropolitan State College of Denver, majoring in mechanical engineering technology.
  • Patrick Hunkins, a senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs – who also works as a student intern for the Spectranetics Corporation.
  • Bruce Keller, a junior physics/mathematics major at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, with seven years prior experience in the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Leah Raffaeli, a senior in the Civil Engineering Technology program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

The Ascent program was created by Lockheed Martin and the Space Foundation to address the challenges faced by the aerospace industry of a potential retirement bubble and a dearth of skilled workers to replace those nearing retirement. All industry partners are invited to help support the Ascent program, which is intent on creating a ‘buzz’ in university engineering and technology circles around the outstanding opportunities in aerospace. For more information on how to participate in the Ascent program, call the Space Foundation at 1-800-691-4000. About the Space Foundation
The Ascent program is just one of the latest Space Foundation efforts to advance and support educational excellence. This year the Foundation will host the second annual Space Career Fair for College Students at the 20th National Space Symposium on March 30; and recently created a Web site featuring fun space activities for youngsters. The Foundation also manages an on-site NASA Educational Resource Center; offers two distinct Master’s in Space Studies Degrees in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Regis University; and has trained more than 30,000 teachers since 1986 on Teaching With Space through Space Discovery graduate courses and national conferences. For more information, visit