AUI News  >

AUI Announces 2024 Scholarship Recipients

Recent News

Astronomers Spot Differences in Thickness of Milky Way Galaxy

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope targeted the Smith Cloud for their observations, however, the Milky Way’s inner galaxy obscured their view. While these scientists didn’t find what they were originally looking for, they did observe something new about this part of our home galaxy. This inner part of the Milky Way appears to be half the size of the outer part!

AUI Announces 2024 Scholarship Recipients

Eighteen high school students receive award for academic achievement, community involvement and leadership skills

Below are the recipients of the 2024 AUI Scholarship conducted by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. These students will each receive an award of $3,500 per year to aid in defraying expenses at the college or university of their choice.

Grace Dillon

Grace DillonGrace Dillon is a senior at Western Albemarle High School and a member of the National Art Honor Society. Her journey into the arts began the moment she gripped a triangular crayon in her hand, and it hasn’t stopped since.

It is not just about art for Grace – she has a fierce love for alternative rock. Her musical path has explored various instruments, including drums, and her current favorites, the electric guitar and bass guitar. When she is not shredding the guitar or belting out lyrics on stage, she finds complete relaxation and expression though her drawings.

Looking ahead, Grace plans to continue her artistic pursuits by attending Piedmont Virginia Community College where she aims to further explore her interests in visual and performing arts.

Grace is the daughter of Tavia and Gary Dillon. Tavia is the Recruitment Specialist in Charlottesville and has been a member of the HR team since 1999.

Amaya Estrada

Amaya EstradaAmaya Estrada is a senior at New Mexico Destinations Career Academy an online school through Gallup, New Mexico. Amaya has held a cumulative GPA of 3.45 and is ranked 12 out of 180. Through her online school, she has taken many medical-related classes in which she has earned certificates in medical terminology, health science fundamentals, allied health, and medical office procedures and admin. She will also graduate with a Nursing Assistant Certificate. Taking these classes has solidified and given her the push she needed to make her decision to attend UNM to major in nursing. Her long-term goal is to be a traveling RN who specializes in pediatric nursing or neonatal nursing working in the NICU.

Amaya spends her free time reading, spending time with her friends and family, cooking, and babysitting. Babysitting and having a five-year-old sister has sparked her interest in working in pediatrics or the NICU. She plans to travel the country working at various hospitals caring for sick children.

Amaya is the daughter of Jonathan Estrada, a Technical Specialist who’s been with the Observatory since July 2023.

Ellee Fitzgerald

Ellee FitzgeraldEllee Fitzgerald is a homeschooled senior completing dual enrollment courses at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduation, she plans to continue her studies at PVCC to complete an Associate of Science Degree in Engineering with intentions to finish her bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech. Ellee’s interest in engineering is the culmination of years of curiosity about how things work and the satisfaction gained from building things that suit practical purposes. She can often be found in the workshop soaking up knowledge and honing new skills. While she is undecided about what industry she’d ultimately like to work in after college, she has an early interest in automotive and aeronautical engineering.

A lifelong artist, Ellee has most recently focused her creative talents on sketching, painting, ceramics, and building models (including a scale-model RC Land Cruiser). Over the past year, Ellee has also built a thriving pet care business and can often be found exploring outdoors with one of her furry clients, the family dog, or taking part in her favorite hobbies of hiking and camping.

Ellee is the dependent of Tom Fitzgerald and Carlie Rowlands, ALMA Budget Manager.

Michael Hanrahan

Michael HanrahanMichael Hanrahan is a senior at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has a strong academic record with a 4.33 GPA. He balances academics with a passion for extracurricular activities. Michael has played soccer at an elite level, traveling to national competitions in Florida and California, and maintains a daily fitness routine through strength training. In addition to athletics, he’s actively involved in his school community, serving as a peer tutor in rigorous subjects like calculus, AP physics, and AP literature. In this role, Michael acts as a mentor and friend, supporting younger students through the challenges of high school. He plans to continue his academic journey this fall at Virginia Tech.

Michael is the stepson of Anand Crossley, NRAO Metric Analyst.

 

 

Gabriel Indebetouw

Gabriel IndebetouwGabriel Indebetouw is a senior at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also studies at the county’s Center 1 for media communications and digital innovation. He has a 4.3 GPA, balancing numerous AP and dual-enrollment courses with his creative side as a photographer. He has been using his height to his advantage as a goalkeeper with the Monticello soccer team.

Gabriel aspires to combine his creativity, curiosity, and drive in the areas of marketing, design, advertisement, and entrepreneurship, starting at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Gabriel is the son of Scientist Remy Indebetouw in Charlottesville.

 

 

Andrew Jennings

Andrew JenningsAndrew Jennings is a senior at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he holds a 4.0 GPA. He has taken coursework as part of the county’s Math, Engineering, and Science Academy, and will attend college at Virginia Tech in the fall to study engineering with an emphasis in computer engineering. Andrew serves as the treasurer of the National Honor Society and is also a member of the math and music honor societies.

Andrew is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, scouting’s national honor society. He has been a member of the Albemarle baseball team for the past four years, and his Eagle Scout service project benefitted a local baseball league. Andrew also plays lead trumpet in the Albemarle jazz ensemble and is a member of the marching band, where he served as a Field Captain, the highest student leadership position.

Andrew is the son of Jason and Amy Jennings. Jason is the Head of Observatory Budgets and has worked at NRAO since 2009.

Kai Lehmensiek

Kai LehmensiekKai Lehmensiek is a senior at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia. He was born and raised close to Cape Town, South Africa, before relocating to Charlottesville in August 2022. Kai is an avid runner who has served as a cross-country and track team captain and as a member of two 4x800m all-state teams. In the 2024 indoor track season, he became the district champion and an all-state athlete in the 1000m, helping his team to their ultimate victory at the state meet. When not running, Kai enjoys playing the piano, having had lessons for about 12 years. In South Africa, he participated in the Stellenbosch Eisteddfod, a prestigious local competition, where he won the J. S. Bach category and was named best jazz pianist for his performance of Gershwin’s three preludes for piano. In Charlottesville, he participated in the CMTA Music Festival, where he was awarded a double superior both times he performed. Having strived to do well in challenging courses, Kai has also taken the Cambridge IGCSE and AS level examinations in Mathematics as extracurricular activities and was awarded a distinction in each.

Kai is the son of Scientist Robert Lehmensiek, who has worked at NRAO since 2022.

Hannah Noel Lumpkin

Hannah LumpkinDolly Parton’s quote, “If I can hold God’s attention, I can hold the worlds,” deeply resonates with me. It embodies courage and faith, qualities I strive to embody alongside being outgoing, setting high standards, and sharing charisma. I see myself as a leader who finds joy in bringing fun to situations, though my stubbornness can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

Reflecting on Dolly’s words reminds me of our shared faith and inspires me to be my best self. My name is Hannah Noel Lumpkin, aged 17, born in Albuquerque, NM. My parents, Shawnda and Cleve Lumpkin, raised me alongside my older brother, who has since graduated from high school and college and resides in Tularosa, NM. Originally from Belen, NM, I recently moved to Aragon, NM, to live on our family’s small ranch with my parents, allowing me to attend Quemado High School.

Throughout my journey with epilepsy, I’ve grown into a warrior, finding opportunities to lead a normal life during my high school years. I actively participated in JV/V volleyball, JV/V basketball, and track, excelling in the 800-meter run and contributing to relay teams that made it to the State multiple times. Additionally, I thrived as an officer in FFA, learning to speak up and lead my team. Beyond sports and extracurriculars, I dedicated my time to various volunteer activities, including Vacation Bible School, rodeo concession stands, ranch rodeos, school fall festivals, church fiestas, and even working at a fast-food restaurant during my junior year.

My most significant achievement in high school was becoming Catron County Fair/Rodeo Queen. This role allowed me to represent my county and school with dignity, demonstrating leadership and courage to other young ladies. Looking ahead, I aspire to further my involvement in queening and pursue studies in business and cosmetology at ENMU. For as long as I can remember my mom has always called me a fashionista because of how I like to style myself, do my hair, makeup, nails, and lashes. As a teenager I have enjoyed doing my friends’ hair and makeup, so why not get paid for it. One day I would love to own my own salon and because of this I thought that I would need to know how to run a business so this is why I want to get my business degree as well.

As I matured, I entered the workforce and demonstrated leadership skills in various capacities, including management, customer service, and financial management. At home, I take charge of chores such as feeding, cleaning, cooking, and caring for our animals, showcasing my leadership abilities in a domestic setting.

Volunteering is a passion of mine, particularly within the church community. During the summer, I eagerly volunteer as a youth leader for Vacation Bible School, guiding and mentoring younger children. This commitment to serving others is why I consider myself a leader, not only professionally and at home, but also among my peers. I enjoy organizing gatherings, sometimes even covering expenses, and orchestrating plans, embodying leadership in all aspects of my life.

Through the ups and downs of life, I’ve been blessed with an unwavering support system that has enriched my journey. Reflecting on the remarkable individuals who have shaped my life, I am grateful for the love, guidance, and strength they have provided me.

Hannah is the dependent of Shawnda and Cleve Lumpkin. Cleve is an Auto Diesel Mechanic in New Mexico and started working at the NRAO in 2023.

Tyler Manglicmot

Tyler ManglicmotTyler Manglicmot is a senior at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia. He is president of FUMA’s chapter of the National Honor Society with a 4.6 GPA. He is a three-season varsity athlete on the FUMA football, basketball, and baseball teams. Tyler will be attending the University of Virginia next year and plans on majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tyler is the son of Ferzen and Sarah Manglicmot. Ferzen has worked at NRAO in Charlottesville since 2007 and is an MIS Systems Administrator IV.

 

 

 

 

Lochren Miller

Lochren MillerLochren Miller is a senior at Horizon West High School in Winter Garden, Florida. Lochren ran the 800- meter for his high school track team, is an avid weightlifter, and started a Bible study during his lunch period. During his junior and senior years, he worked part time at Salt and Straw at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to this, Lochren participated in the Dual Enrollment program, earning 60 college credit hours. He will graduate with his high school diploma and with an Associate in Arts degree from Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.

Lochren is currently serving as an Intern at Horizon West Church in Winter Garden, Florida. In the fall, Lochren will attend Spurgeon College at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing both a BA in Biblical Studies and a Master of Divinity through the seminary’s Accelerate program. Following seminary, Lochren plans to serve as a missionary, possibly in the South American region.

Lochren is the son of Wesley and Renda Miller. Wesley is an MIS Administrator IV out of the Green Bank Observatory.

Elizabeth “Lyzz” Moellenbrock

Elizabeth MoellenbrockElizabeth “Lyzz” Moellenbrock was born in Socorro and will graduate from Socorro High School this spring. In middle and high school, Lyzz has enjoyed participating in FTC Robotics, Science Fairs, and Science Olympiad. A major highlight was when she won first place in the astronomy event at the 2023 New Mexico State Science Olympiad competition.

Outside of STEM clubs, Lyzz has participated in choir, band, Drama Club, cross-country, and the dance team at Socorro High School, in addition to working as an assistant dance instructor for younger children. Hobbies include reading, crochet and cross-stitch, origami, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with the family cats.

Lyzz will attend New Mexico Tech next year, majoring in physics or mathematics.

Lyzz is the daughter of Claire Chandler and George Moellenbrock, and older sister to Andrew. Claire has held a variety of management positions within NRAO’s NM Operations since 2005, most recently being the Deputy Assistant Director for Operations. George has been a member of the CASA software development team since 2000. Both are members of the NRAO Scientific Staff.

Victoria “Jeanette” Otero

Jeanette OteroVictoria “Jeanette” Otero is a senior at Socorro High School, where she participates in many extracurricular activities while successfully completing course work. Jeanette’s sports activities include volleyball, track, softball, and wrestling. Her performing arts include singing at public events, dance, and theatre. During her time at Sarracino Middle School, she decided that she wants to graduate early so that she could get a head start on her career. Since then, she has been hard at work, earning enough high school credits by her junior year to graduate a year early.

She is currently enrolled in Western New Mexico University, where she will double major in criminal justice and psychology. After completing her courses at WNMU, Jeanette will enroll at the University of New Mexico where she will pursue her law degree. Her aspirations are to become a defense lawyer and work her way up to becoming a judge someday.

Jeanette is the daughter of Peter and Charity Otero. Peter is a Network Administrator at the NRAO working in the Domenici Science Operations Center. Charity is a Pharm

Derek Pixton

Derek PixtonDerek Pixton is a senior at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Virginia and is expecting to graduate with a weighted GPA of 4.38 in June of 2024.

He attended CATEC and completed both the fire science and emergency medical technician programs with honors. He is a Virginia Certified Firefighter and nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and serves in both roles with Stony Point Volunteer Fire Company while also working as an EMT for a local medical transport company. Derek is also a PADI certified rescue scuba diver. In addition to high school classes, Derek regularly takes courses in fire company leadership and advanced specialty skills for scuba diving.
During his high school years, his accomplishments include earning the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America, earning the Junior Firefighter of the Year from SPVFC, selection as student commencement speaker at the CATEC completer ceremony, finishing in second place twice at the annual Scuba Jam regional competition, and swimming for the Hollymead Swim Team.

Derek plans to attend a university and pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree before possibly applying to medical school. Most importantly, Derek is extremely friendly and very much enjoys helping and serving other people.

Derek is the son of Jeff and Tina Pixton. Jeff Pixton has worked at NRAO since 2008 and is currently serving in the Technology Transfer Office handling the patenting and licensing activities of the Observatory and AUI.

Alexandra “Lynn” Planck

Lynn PlanckAlexandra “Lynn” Planck was born in Socorro, New Mexico, and is a senior at Socorro High School. She plans to go to New Mexico Tech and has already been accepted. Lynn wants to be an architect, but first, she’s going to be a civil engineer (because there’s no point in making pretty buildings if they fall down on top of you!). Her hobbies include acting, writing, reading and art.

Lynn is the daughter of Max and Jennifer Planck. Jennifer has worked as a Software Engineer for the NRAO for over 10 years.

 

 

 

 

Madeline Ray

Madeline RayMadeline Ray is a senior at Pocahontas County High School in Dunmore, West Virginia, where she is a dedicated art student, the president of the Spanish Club, a member of the Tourism Club, and maintains a 3.9 GPA. Madeline is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and intends to continue learning the Spanish language as she attends college. Madeline attended the Governor’s STEM Institute in 2021. Madeline was a member of the track team all four years of high school, where she competitively threw discus. She enjoys creating art, listening to music, caring for animals, and spending time in nature. She is a popular weekend cook at The Bear’s Den LLC and has worked there for two years. Madeline plans to attend West Liberty University and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in zoo science.

Madeline is the daughter of Jason and Susan Ray. Jason is the Electronics Division Head at the Green Bank Observatory.

Hannah Shannon

Hannah ShannonHannah Shannon is a senior at Western Albemarle High School and holds a GPA of 4.34. Throughout all her years in high school, Hannah has been member of the Environmental Studies Academy and has strived to be an advocate for environmental sustainability. The summer before and throughout her sophomore year, Hannah was an active member of the James River Leadership Academy. Through this program, she worked to better the health of the Chesapeake Watershed and the ecosystems in her community. She has also supplemented her education with courses through PVCC and environmental volunteer work. Hannah’s passions lie in the realms of art, literature, and nature. To further nurture these passions, she plans to attend Virginia Polytechnic Institute for an English degree.

Hannah is the daughter of Michael Shannon, Deputy Assistant Director of the Program Management Department in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

Helena Tremblay

Helena TremblayHelena Tremblay is a senior at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Helena has been playing tennis since she was five and has recently picked up teaching it to the general public. She has been working for the City of Albuquerque at a tennis center for a little over two years. Through this, she discovered a passion for helping other people succeed at their goals. She plans to pursue psychology at the University of New Mexico and hopes to use the new skills she learns to help people at a grander scale.

She also has pursued multiple music-based hobbies, most notably classical guitar, which she played as part of a guitar ensemble for three years. Helena also exhibited interest in engineering from a young age and has been part of multiple clubs and competitions involving programming and engineering.

Helena is the daughter of Steven Tremblay who works out of the Socorro office and is the VLBA Technical Scientist.

Michael Tucker

Michael TuckerMichael Tucker recently received his GED. He is now looking to start college, with a focus in accounting. Deciding to get his GED instead of finishing high school was a hard decision, but with the health conditions he has been struggling with, he is confident it was the right one to make. He enjoys chess, reading, and content creation in his spare time. He is excited to start college and begin his path to becoming an accountant!

Michael is the son of Reid Givens, a Software Engineer who has worked for the Observatory since 2019.

Recent News

Astronomers Spot Differences in Thickness of Milky Way Galaxy

Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope targeted the Smith Cloud for their observations, however, the Milky Way’s inner galaxy obscured their view. While these scientists didn’t find what they were originally looking for, they did observe something new about this part of our home galaxy. This inner part of the Milky Way appears to be half the size of the outer part!