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Miami senior awarded $10,000 astronaut scholarship

06/13/2011

Zoe Hesp
Miami University senior Zoe Hesp, a zoology and French double major and neuroscience minor from Dayton, has been awarded $10,000 from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). She is one of 25 students nationwide to be selected for the scholarship by ASF for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Hesp, who also received a 2011 Goldwater Scholar Honorable Mention, has conducted undergraduate research for the past three years with faculty mentor Lori Isaacson, professor of zoology, studying the regeneration of peripheral nerve cells following injury.

Hesp is “an outstanding student—in addition to her own research, Zoe’s contributions have been instrumental in the success of several other projects in the lab. Her drive and enthusiasm for neuroscience are exceptional,” Issacson said. “Zoe’s successful research career is just beginning. She shows great promise and will no doubt achieve at a very high level in the future.”

She has received three undergraduate research grant awards from Miami and a College of Arts and Science Dean’s Scholar award for her research efforts. She has presented her research in poster presentations at five national conferences and in oral presentations at three regional conferences. She will also give an oral presentation on her work at the Microscopy and Microanalysis National Conference in Nashville in August, and she is preparing a manuscript for publication on her research findings on reinnervation of the vasculature following injury.

Hesp was recently elected as the secretary of the national chapter of the neuroscience honorary society Nu Rho Psi for a three-year term beginning in 2011. She is also secretary of Miami’s chapter of Nu Rho Psi. She participated in Miami’s “Intensive French Study in Dijon” in summer 2010, and is a member of Miami’s Academic Quiz team.

Miami is one of the 25 schools eligible to nominate a student for the Astronaut Scholarship. Institutional partners are asked to submit their very best and brightest science and technology students to the Foundation for review, according to the ASF. Students must be nominated by a professor, entering their junior or senior year in engineering, natural or applied science, or mathematics at one of the 25 schools the Foundation supports, and demonstrate excellence in research and academics.

ASF was founded in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts. Since then, more than 80 other astronauts have lent their support to the program. Its mission 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.

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