Monday, March 23, 2009

CM's Ross Finman wins Goddard Scholarship

Carnegie Mellon University's Ross Finman will receive the prestigious Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship at the 52nd annual Goddard Memorial Dinner, April 17 in Washington, D.C.

"I am thrilled to win this award because it is a great example of how the unique Carnegie Mellon environment allows motivated and driven students to pursue their technical aspirations," said Finman, 19, a junior in electrical and computer engineering.

The National Space Club Award of $10,000 is given each year to stimulate the interest of talented students to advance scientific knowledge through space research and exploration. Award recipients must be pursuing or have the intention of pursuing studies in science or engineering during their university career. It is also given in memory of Robert H. Goddard, America's rocket pioneer.

"I could not think of a more deserving awardee," said the Fredkin University Research Professor William "Red'' Whittaker. "Ross is a jewel. He is a phenomenal leader and very engaging. He drives himself to lead and pulls his team along with him," said Whittaker, who heads the university's team attempting to win the $20 million Google Lunar X-Prize for landing a robot on the moon, driving it at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and transmitting images back to Earth. "He is an extremely hard worker and is very serious about working in the field of space technology."

For Finman, space is literally the final frontier. "I came to Carnegie Mellon interested in robotics but I am now hooked after being involved with our amazing X-Prize team," said Finman of Nashua, N.H., who is also involved in a separate team challenge to build an autonomous dirt-digging robot for a NASA competition.

Finman says he is a winner because he is surrounded in an environment of winners. "I have learned so much from my collaborative, problem-solving team experiences at Carnegie Mellon, and that is exactly why I came to this research university," Finman said.

The energetic Finman admits to taking a few college-level courses at both Harvard and Johns Hopkins when he was only 16. "But only at Carnegie Mellon could I really get to sink my teeth into some novel research and be respected at such a young age," he said.

"Ross Finman is the kind of student that chooses Carnegie Mellon because our environment nurtures and inspires innovation," said Ed Schlesinger, head of the university's top-ranked Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We celebrate his creativity and his ability to translate the fundamentals into practical technology."

A rocket enthusiast since childhood, Finman is an avid skydiver, rock climber, mountain biker and skier.

No comments: