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USRA Scholarship Alumni

Meet some of our past USRA Scholarship winners! Learn how they got interested in their fields, the type of work they've been doing, and advice they have for other students and scholarship seekers.

Elizabeth Bondi Elizabeth Bondi
Rochester Institute of Technology
Imaging Science
Bachelor of Science - 2016
2015 USRA Scholarship Winner

Growing up in upstate New York, Elizabeth Bondi was always fascinated by the night sky. Her favorite field trips were to the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York. When she enrolled in the imaging science program at Rochester Institute of Technology, she had the opportunity to work on a range of projects in both astronomy and other fields, in which she would have "ample opportunities and be able to make a difference." Read more.



Jeremy Dietrich Jeremy Dietrich
Harvard University
Astrophysics and Physics
Bachelor of Science - 2017
2015 USRA Scholarship Winner

Growing up in the outskirts of Phoenix, Jeremy had lots of opportunity to be inspired by the night sky. He says, "My first vivid memory is actually going out and looking for the Hale-Bopp comet as it passed by the Earth in 1997-98, and that has stuck with me throughout the years." Read more.



Emily Garhart Emily Garhart
University of Maryland
Astrophysics and Physics
Bachelor of Science - 2017
2016 USRA Scholarship Winner

Emily knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved in astronomy and physics research, having grown up with both parents working for NASA. But it wasn't until college when she took a geology and astronomy course at the same time that she realized that she likes the interdisciplinary aspect of planetary science. Read more.



Namrah Habib Namrah Habib
University of Arizona
Aerospace Engineering
Bachelor of Science - 2017
2015 USRA Scholarship Winner

Namrah has always been interested in science. Growing up, her family spent vacations and weekends going to museums to learn about different fields of science. But it was an all-day trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston that inspired her to learn more about past and current NASA missions and the International Space Station. Read more.



Anthony Hennig Anthony Hennig
Rochester Institute of Technology
Mechanical Engineering (B.S. 2016)
Science, Technology, and Public Policy (M.S. 2016)
2015 USRA Scholarship Winner

For as long as he can remember, Anthony Hennig has always been excited about space. His high school and college teachers made him curious about where he could fit into the space systems engineering field. He's excited that he's now getting to meet and get to know some of the people in the field whose work he's been reading. His summer internships got him involved with people who do mission and systems architecture design, which he will combine with advocacy for spaceflight as he pursues graduate studies. Read more.



Kristina Kaldon Kristina Kaldon
Pennsylvania State University
Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Bachelor of Science - 2015
2014 USRA Scholarship Winner

When she was young, teaching was Kristina's dream career. In high school, Kristina was inspired to study astronomy and physics by her physics teacher. She's happy teaching is still her dream career and as a kid never could have imagined she would want to teach astronomy. Read more.



Angela Kimber Angela Kimber
University of Washington
Chemical Engineering
Bachelor of Science - 2017
2016 USRA Scholarship Winner

Angela's parents often remind her of her early fascination and the "big questions" she would ask about space and science as a child. As a chemical engineering student, she feels she has been fortunate to contribute towards research that allows her to seek those answers and develop new ways of attaining knowledge about our place in the solar system. Read more.



Charles Law Charles Law
Harvard University
Physics and Astrophysics
Bachelor of Arts - 2017
2016 USRA Scholarship Winner

Charles was originally interested in physics, but after taking some college classes and having the opportunity to do research in astronomy, he realized he loved learning about astrophysics even more. He became fascinated with the process of observation and data collection. He says, "The exposure to real data and a vibrant community of scientists all interested in learning about space and our place in the universe was incredibly exciting." Read more.



Peter Martin Peter Martin
Wesleyan University
Chemistry and Earth Science
Bachelor of Science - 2014
2013 USRA Scholarship Winner

From his childhood up until near the end of his undergraduate career, Peter had planned on a career in aviation. He majored in chemistry at Wesleyan, but then took a planetary geology class in his freshman year which he really enjoyed. So he double majored, and then jumped at the opportunity for a research position with the planetary geology professor. Now he's a graduate student in geochemistry at Caltech. As he says, "I suspect my 10-year old self would be pretty shocked to find that I had found anything to motivate me away from airplanes!" Read more.



Shreyas Vissapragada Shreyas Vissapragada
Columbia University
Astrophysics & Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts - 2017
2016 USRA Scholarship Winner

Shreyas always thought that space was "really cool", and watched NOVA and Bill Nye reruns with his family all the time. As a 10-year old, one of his favorite biographies was on Einstein. In high school he participated in the astronomy competition as part of the Science Olympiad. When he got to college, he took a few astronomy classes, got involved in research, and as he says, "never looked back." Read more.



Emily Wislowski Emily Wislowski
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Physics (with concentration in Astronomy)
Bachelor of Science - 2015
Masters of Science - 2016
2014 USRA Scholarship Winner

Emily has wanted to be an astronomer ever since receiving a telescope for Christmas as a young child. The sense of awe from the first time she used it has not faded. With her love of both math and astronomy, majoring in physics seemed like a natural choice. Read more.



Qicheng Zhang Qicheng Zhang
University of California, Santa Barbara
Physics
Bachelor of Science - 2017
2016 USRA Scholarship Winner

Qicheng been interested in astronomy for as far back as he can remember, having picked up amateur astronomy as a hobby many years ago. He grew especially interested in the things in the sky that change from night to night, which are primarily objects in the solar system. He now finds planetary astronomy research particularly fascinating and rewarding due to the relatively near-term (~100 yr) implications it may have on our society and infrastructure as we increasingly interact with objects in space beyond Earth. Read more.