Campus News

NASA Director Honors UK Student with Scholarship


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 7, 2010) − Space shuttle astronaut and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana will present University of Kentucky mechanical engineering graduate student Edward Brady Doepke with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a public presentation and ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, in the Niles Gallery, located in the Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

The award ceremony will coincide with a presentation by Cabana, where he will share his experiences as a space shuttle pilot and mission commander as well as his knowledge of NASA. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"It is my honor to be presenting Edward with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award," said Cabana. "He is a dedicated researcher in the field of mechanical engineering. It is vital that America remains a technological leader in the world and that responsibility rests upon future generations, particularly students like Edward."

Doepke, of Morehead, Ky., is a post-graduate student working on his master’s degree in mechanical engineering with an aerospace orientation. He carried out research in inflatable wing structures while studying at UK and did thermal testing for the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) mission during a summer at Goddard Space Flight Center. Doepke would like to work for NASA after completing his master’s, with the eventual goal of earning his doctorate.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. Twenty of these prestigious awards were dispersed this year through the ASF to outstanding college students majoring in science, engineering or math. More than $3 million has been awarded in scholarships to date with $111,000 to UK students alone. These well-rounded students exhibit motivation, imagination and intellectual daring, as well as exceptional performance, both in and out of the classroom.

"Only a select group of students are named Astronaut Scholar and earn recognition for their research from NASA during their university studies," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "We are extremely proud of Edward Doepke and the success he has achieved. He is an outstanding example of the type of students we have studying and doing research at UK."

Cabana was selected by NASA in June 1985 and qualified as a pilot for Space Shuttle flight crews. He has flown four space shuttle missions serving as the pilot of Discovery on STS-41 in October 1990, the pilot of Discovery on STS-53 in December 1992, the commander of Columbia on STS-65 in July 1994, and the commander of Endeavour on STS-88, the first space station assembly mission, in December 1998. Cabana currently serves as director at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Prior to his appointment to Kennedy in October 2008, the former space shuttle astronaut served as the director of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Robert Cabana was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 3, 2008.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by the Mercury Astronauts in 1984. Its goal is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for exceptional college students pursuing degrees in these fields. Today, more than 80 Astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor. For more information, call (321) 455-7015 or log on to

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