|Kimberly Spencer, center, won the Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship Award. At left is Spencer's father, Gregory Spencer, chief of the Facilities, Maintenance and Logistics Branch. At right is acting Deputy Center Director Bob Meyer, who presented the award.
NASA Photo / by Jim Ross
Dryden helps open doors for student
Special to the X-Press
Kimberly D. Spencer was awarded the Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship Award for her exemplary academic achievements while attending Quartz Hill High School.
A competition for this scholarship is held annually among students who are children of Dryden civil service employees, retirees and military detailees stationed at Dryden. The students are judged according to their high school transcripts, community participation and a scholarship application essay.
Spencer, who won the competition based on both academic and social strengths, was granted $1,500 a year for four years.
"I am extremely honored and I'd like to thank NASA Dryden for this award," she said.
Spencer's father, Gregory Spencer, chief of the Facilities, Maintenance and Logistics Branch, was elated by the news.
"We found out about a month ago. She's worked very hard for a long time and I'm pleased she was selected," he said.
The scholarship money will help pay her tuition at the University of California at Berkley, where she currently is studying molecular and cellular biology. Kimberly also has expressed interest in political science and is considering a double major in biology and political science.
"I really don't know what I'm going to major in; it's between architecture and biology, I know that my fascination for and love of medicine will likely push me into a career in that field, but I don't want to limit myself by choosing now," Spencer said.
Before entering UC Berkley in the fall of 2003, Spencer previously had been a volunteer in the Dryden Health Unit assisting in the ER-2 ionizing radiation studies. She completed course work in vertebrate anatomy and Shakespearean drama at Harvard University and researched as part of the biological science program at the University of Chicago.
She also volunteered at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore., where she shadowed biological and medical researchers and was involved in experimental microscopic surgical technology development.
At Quartz Hill High School Spencer was a member of the National Honor Society and the International Baccalaureate Program, and was vice president of the Drama Club, where she had leading roles in four plays.
"I feel so good. I'm proud that I was able to win this scholarship. This scholarship is definitely going to alleviate some stress for my parents and it's going to make it a lot easier for me to attend college," she said.
The Dryden Exchange Council is the conduit for providing the scholarship, which each year is named for a deceased member of the Dryden Family. The Vensel scholarship is named in honor of Dryden's former director of flight operations and a former NACA pilot at Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Vensel retired from Dryden in 1966.