PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Stephanie R. Zeluck
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 19, 1997
NEW JPL PROGRAM RECOGNIZES COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS
Outstanding students from 25 southern California community
colleges will be recognized in an awards ceremony as part of a
new program called Jet Propulsion Laboratory Undergraduate
The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 21,
at the Athenaeum on the California Institute of Technology
campus, 551 S. Hill Ave. in Pasadena.
The new program, which began in May, each year will honor
the leading first-year student in each of 25 local community
colleges who are majoring in physical science, mathematics,
computer science or engineering fields. Students are selected by
the community college faculty near the end of the freshman year.
Students will receive $500 and a certificate naming the
student as a JPL scholar for exemplary work in each of the first
two years of school. During the summer between their junior and
senior years, previously awarded JPL scholars will have an
opportunity to compete for a $4,000 Caltech/JPL Summer
Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).
SURF is an internationally renowned program that allows more
than 200 undergraduate students each summer to research under the
guidance of experienced Caltech or JPL sponsors. Programs under
SURF have included students writing proposals under the guidance
of their research advisors, and submitting those proposals to a
committee for grants. Research carried out over the summer
culminates in a technical report delivered orally by students in
a symposium called SURF Seminar Day.
JPLUS was created by JPL's Educational Affairs Office as a
way to reach out and support undergraduate level students using
the extensive southern California community college system.
"Community colleges are one example of the kind of strategic
partnership that NASA encourages us to develop," said Richard
Alvidrez of JPL's Educational Affairs Office, manager of the
JPLUS program. "Rather than just working with one or two
institutions, it makes sense for us to work with as many
institutions as we can. Working with the community colleges has
provided a significant multiplying effect towards our efforts."
An endowment was presented to JPL by Caltech last year in an
effort to improve existing outreach programs and develop new
ones. "JPLUS represents an expression of our employees who are
very interested in support for students across California," said
Fred Shair, manager of the Educational Affairs Office.
The JPLUS program is dedicated to the memory of Robert B.
Leighton, a longtime physicist and astronomer at Caltech who
began his undergraduate career at Los Angeles Community College.
He is widely known for his work in solid-state physics, cosmic
ray physics, particle physics, infrared astronomy and millimeter
and submillimeter wave astronomy. He also authored the highly
influential text entitled "Principles of Modern Physics." The
dedication of the JPLUS program to Leighton's memory aims to show
community college students what future possibilities they can
achieve within Caltech, NASA and JPL. Caltech manages JPL for