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August 18, 2017
 

Banks awarded NASA Armstrong scholarship

Sean Banks, second from left, accepts the 2017 NASA Armstrong Exchange John W. Russell Memorial Scholarship from Center Director David McBride. Next to Banks are his parents Dan Banks and Lorna Banks.

The NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council presented its 2017 John W. Russell Memorial Scholarship Award to Sean Banks Aug. 1.

Banks is a 2017 graduate of Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, Calif., who plans to major this fall in nuclear engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Banks earned a 4.53 grade-point average, was a valedictorian and ranked third academically at his high school out of a class of 378 students.

The scholarship provides $2,000 per year for up to four years for attendance at a four-year college or university, providing the recipient maintains a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Applicants for the annual scholarship must be high school seniors with a parent working at Armstrong.

“I am excited about the award and the energy field,” Banks said. “Nuclear energy is an up and coming career field.”

He is the son of Daniel and Lorna Banks of Carmichael, Calif. Daniel Banks is the NASA Armstrong technical lead for the Flight System Research Theme of the Overland Supersonic Transport sub-project of the Commercial Supersonic Transport (CST) project.

“There were a lot of deserving people considered for the scholarship and we are really happy for Sean,” his father said.

“He went to a very competitive high school and worked really hard,” his mom added.

In addition to excelling in advanced placement (AP) and honors classes, Sean Banks was heavily involved in numerous school and community activities, and received an AP Scholar with Distinction Award. Sean received a Graduating Class Presidential Academic Award, physics and mathematics Graduating Class awards and a Distinguished Scholar Award.

Banks was a member of the National Honor Society and achieved a Life Membership Highest Honor (Outstanding Sealbearer Award) in the California Scholarship Federation. He received Certificates of Excellence in AP calculus, AP physics and pre-calculus. Banks was actively involved in year around competitive swimming as a registered USA swimmer. He studied piano and violin and volunteered his time at the Loaves and Fishes Charity Services for the Homeless.

Banks participated in school athletic programs, lettering as a member of the varsity swim team. He was an active member of the key club and was co-captain of the math league. He also served as a student peer tutor for pre-calculus students. In his freshman year in high school, he attended the Tehachapi High School Engineering and Manufacturing Academy.

NASA Armstrong Exchange Council scholarships are named for former Armstrong employees, with honorees selected on a rotating basis. Russell, who is named on the current scholarship, was the original crew chief for Chuck Yeager on the X-1 program that resulted in achieving speeds above Mach 1. Russell later flew as one of the panel operators when the X-15 rocket plane launched from the NASA B-52 and reached the edge of space. Scholarship funds are raised from council activities, including proceeds from vending machines, the Armstrong Gift Shop, cafeteria sales and fundraising events.




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