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2 UTSI Students Awarded NASA Space Grants

Two University of Tennessee Space Institute graduate students have received NASA Space Grants of more than $40,000, Callie Taylor, coordinator of student affairs, has confirmed.

Recipients are Daniel Lehman, a doctoral candidate in Aerospace Engineering from Watertown, S.D., and Ashley Owens from Martin, who is seeking a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

“These are prestigious fellowships that cover tuition and educational expenses as well as travel, equipment, and other costs associated with their projects,” Taylor said. Lehman’s grant includes a personal stipend of $18,816, which can increase during his course of study, and a stipend of $16,934 is included in Owens’ grant.

“We are very proud of these students,” said John E. Caruthers, UT associate vice president and UTSI’s chief operating officer. “In the last 12 years 18 other of our graduate students have received NASA Space Grants.” These include three other current students: Mark Olles of Holley, N.Y., Catherine Kelly of Springdale, Md., and Steve Stasko of Philadelphia, Pa.

Lehman, son of Floyd and Sylvia Lehman of Watertown and graduate of The University of Minnesota, received his master’s degree at UTSI in Aerospace Engineering in December. With Basil Antar, his major professor, he is continuing microgravity research. He was involved in UT’s first experiment to be performed on the Space Station – a test of Antar’s theory of a new, more accurate method of measuring the thickness or viscosity of fluids. He witnessed the tests from the Telescience Center at Marshall Space Flight Center.

This spring, Lehman will go to Houston for another flight on NASA’s “Weightless Wonder” KC-135 (also dubbed the “Vomit Comet”) that simulates zero-gravity conditions. In 2004, the student spent three days of boisterous, stomach-turning flights on board the aircraft, testing at zero-gravity a life support system experiment prepared by Antar and Donald Reiss, a microgravity scientist from the Marshall Center.

Owens, a graduate of South Fulton High School and UT Martin, is involved in testing of a General Electric J-85 afterburning turbojet engine supervised by her major professor, Roy Schulz. Owens’ focus is analyzing the chemistry of the jet exhaust. Her parents are Phil and Dawn Owens of Martin.

Alfonso Pujol, professor of Electrical Engineering at UTSI, is UT’s representative and UTSI’s director of the Space Grant Consortium, which is affiliated with five Tennessee universitie