Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Two Engineering Students Receive NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium Scholarships

KINGSVILLE - June 10, 2010

Contact: Adriana Garza
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4979

Both students are repeat winners

The NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) has selected two Texas A&M University-Kingsville engineering students as Columbia Crew Memorial Scholars.

The 2010-2011 awards marks the third year senior civil engineering major Andy Vigstol from Harlingen has received the honor and the second year for senior mechanical engineering major John Caballero from Corpus Christi.

Named for the fallen Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts who died when their shuttle disintegrated over Texas upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003, the scholarship recognizes high-quality undergraduate students and seeks to encourage their consideration of graduate studies in science, technology, engineering and math fields—disciplines that provide excellent foundations for careers in space-related fields.

An A&M-Kingsville student has received the Columbia Crew Memorial Scholarship every year since 2004, the first year the TSGC undergraduate award bore the name of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew.

“As the Texas A&M University-Kingsville representative for the TSGC, I am excited to see some of our students receive this scholarship,” said Dr. Larry Peel, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.  “John and Andy are excellent students, and well-deserving of this state-wide scholarship. I strongly encourage other students to apply next spring, as the success rate for those applying has been about 50 percent,” Peel said.

Caballero and Vigstol became interested in pursuing an engineering degree at A&M-Kingsville after participating in the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering May-mester summer program in 2007. The program provides community college students with the opportunity to work with teams of university researchers for two weeks. 

Both students already are putting their engineering education to work.

Caballero currently works as a project manager for Sikorsky Aerospace in Beeville. He maintains a 3.49 overall GPA and plans to graduate in December. He said the prestige associated with the NASA scholarship has helped him move ahead in his career, in addition to helping him pay for school.

Vigstol decided to return to school to earn his bachelor’s degree after 10 years working as a surveyor. He currently works for the City of Kingsville’s engineering department. He maintains a 3.98 overall GPA and plans to graduate in spring 2011.

The Texas Space Grant Consortium is a group of 46 institutions which include universities, industrial organizations, non-profit organizations and government agencies within Texas that are joined to ensure that the benefits of space research and technology are available to all Texans.

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