Two Earn NASA Aeronautics Scholarships
Alex Angilella and Austin Rivera, undergraduates in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE), have been awarded NASA Aeronautics Scholarships.
The scholarships provide two years of education-related financial support, plus a paid summer internship at a NASA research center, for “our nation’s research leaders of tomorrow.” Nationwide, 20 scholarships are awarded each year.
“The competition for these scholarships is fierce, and the review process is grueling,” said Kurt Anderson, MANE professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies. “Having two of our students selected reflects both the rigor of our program and the strengths of these students as individuals.”
For Angilella, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, the scholarship and internship opportunity are “a dream come true.” He spent last summer at Princeton University, conducting research on fluid dynamics. This summer, he hopes to be engaged in similar research at a NASA lab
Angilella is president of the Rensselaer chapter of Engineers without Borders; vice president of Pi Tau Sigma, the international mechanical engineering honor society; and outreach and recruitment chair of the MANE Student Advisory Council. In 2010, he was among a Rensselaer group that traveled to Isla Popa, Panama, to assess and address the island's need for clean drinking water.
Rivera is a sophomore with a dual major in mechanical and aeronautical engineering. His primary interest is in small aircraft. A licensed pilot, Rivera is a member of the RPI Flying Club and a volunteer with Brunswick Fire Company No. 1. He also is a member of the Civil Air Patrol and has earned its General Carl A. Spaatz Award, the highest honor available to a member under age 21.
According to Anderson, both students' community service weighed heavily in the NASA scholarship decision.
“Applicants definitely have to be stellar students, but that's not enough,” Anderson said. “NASA is looking for tomorrow's leaders—for individuals who not only are likely to succeed but also have demonstrated that they are going to give back to the community.”