The Robert D. Powell, Jr. Scholarship
The Robert Powell Scholarship was established to honor the long time treasurer of the Hampton Roads Chapter whose stewardship of the chapter’s financial assets has enabled the chapter’s STEM outreach program, including its scholarship fund. The 2018 Robert Powell scholarship has been awarded to Grace Vidlak, the daughter of Annette and John Vidlak. Grace attended Walsingham Academy and is an exemplary scholar. She has conducted collegiate level research at NASA Langley Research Center on the dynamics of fuselage deformation experienced during crash landings. Grace plans to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia and has her eye on one day obtaining a PhD in Aerospace Engineering.
The Christopher Gavora Scholarship
The Christopher Gavora Scholarship was established to honor the son of COL William Gavora, former Commander of the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. Chris was killed in a tragic high school baseball practice accident shortly after his family relocated from Hampton Roads to Texas. The 2018 Christopher Gavora Scholarship has been awarded to Chet Wiltshire, a graduate of Ocean Lakes High School. Chet, the son of Pam and Doug Wiltshire, is a proven academic with experience working with professional UAV photography. Chet is an Eagle Scout with multiple Varsity Letters and was a finalist in the AHS-HRC Tidewater Science and Engineering Fair Awards at this year’s fair for his work tuning a PID controller for his UAV. Chet plans to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the North Carolina State University or University of Alabama.
2019 Tidewater Regional Science and Engineering Fair
As it has for many years in the past, this year the VFS Hampton Roads Chapter presented multiple special awards at the Tidewater Science & Engineering Fair. The Junior Division (Middle School) award winners received $200 for first place, and $150 for second place. The Senior Division (High School) award winners received $250 for first place, and $200 for second place. These awards are given to the students with the best projects supporting “the multidisciplinary fields of vertical flight, traditional rotorcraft platforms disciplines, and related support industries.” The winners were judged to be the best versed with their work and performed the most unique experiments. Their teachers have also received a $100 award for supporting the STEM community, and leading their students to these great achievements.
The Junior Division first place award winner was Michelle Hu for her work on object detection and classification in visually similar and dissimilar backgrounds. Michelle used an open source object classification program to detect colored spheres on colored paper. The second place award winner was Nolan McBride, who investigated the sound absorption properties of various insulation materials to reduce noise transmission.
The Senior Division first place award winner was Peneeta Wojcik for her work studying the effects of cobalt nitrate thickness on the efficiency of an electrochemical cell. Her work showed a thicker cobalt nitrate layer deposited on top of a nickel substrate, allowed for an increased efficiency in separating hydrogen atoms from water. This work helps to enable future hydrogen fuel cell technologies. Second place award winner in the senior division was Bharath Kashyap who investigated wind turbine blade shapes on achievable power output. He kept a constant angle of attack, surface area, and airfoil, changing only the planform shape to determine the most efficient turbine for his wind conditions.
The awards were presented by the Chapter’s Education Director Dr. James Stephenson.