Concord, NH- On Saturday, May 4, Jillian Dunlap of Hopkinton, Advay Nomula of Dover and Maxwell Santos of Keene became the 57th, 58thand 59thwinners of the Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship, at a ceremony at AerospaceFest, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s annual aerospace festival. Created in 2001 in memory of Alex Higgins of Bedford, NH, by Alex’s family in collaboration with the Discovery Center and NH Charitable Foundation, the Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship provides full tuition, room and board for a week of simulated astronaut training at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, to three New Hampshire students each year.
Sean O’Keefe, NASA Administrator from 2001-2005, presented the competitive awards to the three winners, noting their accomplishments to date and exhorting them to achieve their dreams: Jillian Dunlap, a 4thgrader at Maple Street Elementary School in Hopkinton, NH, plans to create a blog about her experience at Space Camp to inspire other girls to pursue science, math and technology; Advay Nomula, a 7thgrader at Dover Middle School, wants to “think like an engineer” and create his own mechanical and digital technology company; and Keene Middle School 8thgrader Maxwell Santos began what he believes will be a lifelong interest in astronomy at the age of seven, while watching a program on black holes. Dunlap and Santos both achieved Back-Up Crew status in 2018’s competition. This year’s Back-Up Crew includes Sarah Lewis, a 9thgrader at Concord High School; Ayanna Valeras, a 4thgrader at the Christa McAuliffe School in Concord, and Brady Visaggio, a 6thgrader at McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford. 5thgrader Ryan Casey of St. John Regional School in Concord and 4thgrader Megan Plaza of Matthew Thornton Elementary School in Londonderry NH received honorable mention.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, an all-digital, full-dome planetarium and a variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit www.starhop.com.