Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Two Texas A&M-Kingsville Students Receive NASA Texas Space Grant Scholarships

KINGSVILLE - June 02, 2009

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4143

A&M-Kingsville students frequent recipients of scholarship

Two students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville have been named Columbia Crew Memorial Scholars by the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC).

John Caballero, a mechanical engineering senior from Corpus Christi, and Andy Vigstol, a civil engineering junior from Harlingen, each received a $1,000 scholarship, given to recognize high-quality students and encourage their consideration of graduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields which will ultimately lead to careers in space-related fields.

A Texas A&M-Kingsville student has received the Columbia Crew Memorial Scholarship every year since 2004, the first year the TSGC undergraduate award was named in memory of the fallen Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts.

Caballero first came to A&M-Kingsville as a participant in the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering summer program May-mester, which gives community college students a chance to work in some of the university’s research groups for one to two weeks. After enjoying that experience in the robotics research group of mechanical engineering professor Dr. Selahattin Ozcelik, Caballero later transferred over to A&M-Kingsville. He holds an overall GPA of 3.42, and a 3.95 engineering GPA. Caballero has been a part of the Dean's List in fall 2008 and the Honor Roll in spring 2009.

Since he has been at the university, Caballero said he would like to focus on materials science for any graduate work and for his career, preferring to do research locally in new materials which would help advance or influence the way we use fuels in our everyday lives.

The 2009-2010 academic year will be Vigstol’s second year as a Columbia Crew Memorial Scholar. He also took part in May-mester, with Caballero in 2007, where he was involved with university research firsthand. Vigstol noted the big help the financial award has been in pursuing his undergraduate degree, which Vigstol decided to earn to further his work as a land surveyor. So far, he has been on the President’s List every spring and fall semester since returning to school, and maintains a 3.93 overall GPA and a 4.0 GPA in his degree program.

After working as a surveyor for 10 years, Vigstol is eager to move ahead in his career with a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree in civil engineering. His career wishes include working for a city or private firm, or possibly starting his own business.

The Texas Space Grant Consortium is a group of 35 institutions which include universities, industrial organizations, non-profit organizations and government agencies within Texas. Though education and research, the Consortium enables Texans to be inspired by and participate in NASA's mission of better understanding and protecting our planet, our mission is to improve life on earth, extend life beyond our planet, and explore the universe.


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