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   Date: 7/21/11 Bookmark and Share

Students Earn Prestigious NASA Scholarships

Two Smith College engineers recently won scholarships from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to pursue research.

Geneviève de Mijolla ’13, a double major in engineering and physics, will receive a one-year $10,000 scholarship as a NASA MUST Scholar—a scholarship program focused on encouraging students from underserved and underrepresented groups to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Program is a joint partnership between the Hispanic College Fund, the United Negro College Fund Special Programs and the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers.

In addition to the scholarship, de Mijolla, who is from France, will be eligible for a paid internship at a NASA center next summer. She and other MUST scholars will benefit year-round from tutoring, lecture series and mentoring from STEM faculty and peers.


Briana Tomboulian ’08 was awarded a fellowship from NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist to pursue research into increasing the speed and power necessary for the next generation of planetary probes.

The NASA 2011 Space Technology Research Fellowship will support Tomboulian and her laboratory work, health insurance, tuition, fees, and an extended visit to a NASA center to work on the project—a fellowship valued at as much as $66,000 a year for up to four years.

Now a graduate student in mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Tomboulian’s work is aimed at developing a spacecraft with a high-speed in-space propulsion system that could reach a destination such as Mars in a matter of weeks instead of years.

“Launching a spacecraft is very costly and the expense is directly related to the mass of the vehicle,” Tomboulian wrote in her proposal to NASA. “The heat rejection system, or radiator, of a spacecraft with a nuclear-electric propulsion system accounts for up to 40 percent of the total mass. Lightweight radiators are necessary to achieve NASA’s affordable and efficient space travel goals.”

The goal of the Space Technology Research Fellowships is to provide the nation with a pipeline of highly skilled engineers and technologists to improve America's technological competitiveness.

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