CU Astronaut-Alum Vance Brand to Present Student Scholarship Award on Campus Oct. 1

Published: Sept. 24, 2008

NASA astronaut and University of Colorado at Boulder alumnus Vance Brand will be on the Boulder campus Oct. 1 to present a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to CU-Boulder senior Ryan Kennedy.

The award ceremony will include a talk by Brand, whose NASA career spanned 15 years and four flights, on his role in NASA's manned space program. The lecture, to be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Bechtel Collaboratory in the College of Engineering and Applied Science's Discovery Learning Center, is free and open to the public.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. Nineteen of the prestigious awards are dispersed each year through ASF to outstanding college students majoring in a science or engineering field. The scholarship winners are selected for their exceptional performance, initiative and creativity in their fields both inside and outside the classroom.

"I am pleased to be presenting Ryan with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award," said Brand. "Ryan is a bright, up-and-coming forerunner in the fields of computer science and applied mathematics, and I feel honored to pass this award on to him so that he will be able to continue the United States' great tradition of excellence in the science and engineering fields."

Kennedy is a senior computer science and applied mathematics major focusing on software development. He has worked for a team that developed a mathematical software package written in Java, and has interned for Boulder Labs Inc. As a research assistant at CU-Boulder, Kennedy helped develop mathematical models to better understand biological probabilities, a project for which he co-authored a publication.

Kennedy also has been researching machine-learning technology and its application to time-series analysis. Kennedy will pursue a master's degree in engineering and eventually plans to pursue a doctorate. In his spare time, Kennedy is a nationally competitive swing dancer.

"The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has honored eight of our students since 2001, which makes CU-Boulder extremely proud," said CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "Ryan Kennedy and the undergraduate astronaut scholarship winners that preceded him have contributed significantly to the university's research mission, helping to keep us at the forefront of science, engineering and technology."

Brand holds two bachelor's degrees from CU-Boulder and a master's degree from UCLA. He served as command module pilot on the historic 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first linkup in Earth's orbit between spaceships of the United States and Soviet Union. He later commanded three space shuttle missions. Brand was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997 and is a member and supporter of ASF.

ASF is a nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury astronauts. Its goal is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.

Seventeen astronaut alums from CU-Boulder and one from UC-Colorado Springs have flown in space.

ASF funds 19 scholarships for $10,000 each annually and has awarded nearly $2.6 million in scholarships to students nationwide. For more information visit or call 321-455-7012.