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Marny Skora
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RELEASE : 08-035
08-035: NASA Awards Scholarships to Two Area Scholars
Kirsten Rumsey

Kirsten Rumsey

HAMPTON, Va. – A Menchville High student and a University of Virginia rising sophomore are two of six recipients nationwide awarded scholarships from the NASA College Scholarship Fund. Pulitzer Prize winning author James A. Michener, a firm supporter of NASA, established the fund in 1982 with a significant unsolicited donation.

This year's winners include Newport News resident Kirsten Rumsey and York County resident Michael Tessler.

During her high school career, Kirsten participated in theater productions, the debate team, numerous science fairs and she has been an area volunteer.

She earned a 4.43 grade point average at Menchville while taking advanced placement math and science courses. She graduates this month and is ranked fifth out of a class of 428 students.

She plans to attend the University of Virginia in Charlottesville where she will major in science/math. She ultimately hopes to earn a doctorate. Kirsten is the daughter of NASA Langley Research Center engineer Christopher Rumsey and his wife Kimberly.

Maintaining all As in advanced biology, chemistry, physics, computer programming, astronomy, real analysis, differential equations and linear algebra during his first year at the University of Virginia, Michael was the 2007 valedictorian at Tabb High School in a graduating class of 287 students.

Michael Tessler

Michael Tessler

He is majoring in math and astronomy and plans to become a research scientist. He has earned numerous honors, including the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award, the Peninsula Council of Teachers of Mathematics Award and the York County 2007 Outstanding Youth Award for Courage. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honor Society.

Michael is currently working in a National Science Foundation-sponsored internship at North Carolina State University researching mathematical modeling of vehicle evacuation routes. He is the son of NASA Langley aerospace engineer Dr. Alexander Tessler and York High School teacher Barbara Tessler.

The scholarships to NASA dependents are renewable annually for a maximum of $10,000 over a period of six years. The 2008 awardees bring the total number of recipients to 136.

For more information about the NASA College Scholarship Fund, Inc., visit:


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