NASA Selects Two Engineering
Students for Aeronautics Scholarships
Engineering students James Pressly and Chris Volk are among just 20 undergraduates nationwide to be awarded 2012 NASA Aeronautics Scholarships. As such, Pressly and Volk will receive two years of education-related financial support, plus a paid summer internship at a NASA research center.
NASA launched the Aeronautics Scholarship Program (ASP) in 2008 to advance aeronautics by investing in “our nation’s research leaders of tomorrow.” The program awards fellowships to five graduate and 20 undergraduate students each year.
Since the program’s inception, five Rensselaer undergraduates have earned ASP awards an achievement that places the Institute among the top five for number of ASP recipients.
“These awards recognize some of the nation’s most promising young engineers,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering. “Our track record speaks volumes about the strength of our programs and the caliber of our students.
“We congratulate James and Chris on this impressive achievement and on their role in furthering Rensselaer’s longstanding connection with NASA.”
Pressly is pursuing a B.S./M.S. in materials engineering and will complete the five-year program in four years. A member of the swimming and diving team, he has earned Liberty League All-Academic honors. He also serves as recording secretary for Delta Phi Fraternity.
An aeronautical engineering major, Volk is treasurer of Engineers without Borders, a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World at Rensselaer, and treasurer and webmaster for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He has interned at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.
Pressly and Volk will spend next summer working in one of four NASA facilities: Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.; Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.; Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; or Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
Scholarship recipients are asked to name their top two choices and to explain the reasons for their preference. Pressly speaks for both students when he says, “I would be happy working at any of them.” He is fascinated by potential applications for new composites and smart materials and believes they could prove central to aeronautic innovations.
Volk’s interest is in combustion and propulsion research, with an eye toward improving fuel efficiency. “Over the years, engines have been improved and perfected,” he said, “but fuels have remained relatively standard. One day, I hope to be part of a team that makes aeronautical travel more affordable by creating more efficient fuels.”
Previous Rensselaer ASP recipients include Alex Angilella and Austin Rivera, both in 2011, and Heather Kline in 2009.