Student earns NASA scholarshipBy Ben Jackson | 09/23/2014 11:23pm
Lauren Howell, a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering, was recently named a recipient of NASA’s 2014-2015 Aeronautics Scholarship. CW | Pete Pajor
Lauren Howell is aiming for the stars – a bit more literally than most of her classmates.
Howell, a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering at The University of Alabama, was recently named a recipient of NASA’s 2014-2015 Aeronautics Scholarship. Howell is one of just 20 students from across the nation to receive the honor.
Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Research Mission Director, emphasized the importance of these students and others selected during the scholarship’s seven-year run.
“These students represent the future in aeronautics research,” Shin said in a press release.
In addition to $15,000 per year for two years of tuition, Howell will receive a $10,000 stipend as she works in a summer internship, where she will study side-by-side with NASA scientists and engineers to solve tomorrow’s aeronautics problems.
Howell, a native of Huntington, West Virginia, said her love of aeronautics started early.
“My grandfather was a tail gunner on a B-17 Bomber during WWII, so I grew up hearing all of his stories about the war,” Howell said. “I became really interested in the development of flight technology and how it’s changed our world. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”
In school, Howell said she loved the subjects math, science and art. She said aerospace engineering provides an excellent mix of all three.
The summer internship included in Howell’s scholarship is a 10-week stint at a NASA research facility, which she begins in the summer of 2015.
“This real world experience through the internship will help me gain an upper-hand in better understanding what is demanded of today’s aerospace engineers, as well as preparing me for a career in aerospace,” she said.
She hopes to use this experience to develop space exploration technology such as hybrid material UAVs for a company like NASA or similar ones, like SpaceX.
Howell discovered the scholarship through an email sent out by a member of the engineering department. The scholarship application required two essays, two letters of recommendation, a strong transcript, along with an intensive vetting process that resulted in Howell being selected from a pool of several hundred applicants.
“I would like to encourage all engineering students who are interested in internships or co-ops to seize every opportunity they find to apply for something like this,” she said. “I never thought I would be blessed enough to receive such an honor as the NASA Aeronautics Scholarship, but through it and by the grace of God I have been given the opportunity of a life time.”