The NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council has presented its 2014 Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship Award to Katherine Lott.
A graduate of the class of 2014 at Desert High School on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Lott plans to major in bio-medical engineering at the University of California – San Diego this fall.
She was a valedictorian of her high school graduating class, having earned a 4.3 grade-point average during her high school years. She was ranked sixth academically out of 98 students in Desert High’s Class of 2014. Lott said the scholarship would help her in her studies toward her ultimate career goal.
“I want to be a surgeon,” she said. “Helping people is my ultimate goal. In fact, I think that any kind of profession in the medical field helps people.”
The scholarship provides $2,000 per year for up to four years for attendance at a four-year college or university, or $1,000 per year for up to two years for attendance at a two-year community college, providing the recipient maintains a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Applicants for the annual scholarship are required to be high school seniors whose parents are among NASA Armstrong’s civil service or contractor workforce.
She is the daughter of Darryl and Boon Lott of Lancaster, Calif. Darryl Lott is employed as a lead engineering technician in the structural fabrication branch of NASA Armstrong’s Flight Operations Directorate. “We are excited that she is doing the things she loves to do,” said Boon Lott, her mother. “She wants to help people. I think that is a very honorable goal.”
In addition to excelling in advanced placement and honors classes during her high school career, Katherine was heavily involved in numerous school activities, including Desert High’s Associated Student Body where she served as vice president her senior year and junior class secretary in 2012. She also participated in the California State and Kern County science fairs during all four years of her high school tenure, and is a member of the National Honors Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Lott also found time for school club involvement as a member of the junior varsity and varsity mathletes teams, a member of the Desert High School Band, a member and leader in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program, and captain of Desert High’s varsity tennis team, where she received the coach’s award this past season. Lott served as a student government officer, prom committee officer, yearbook committee president and president of the graduation committee.
Outside of Desert High academic and extra-curricular activities, Lott isn’t waiting for her future career to help people-she is making a difference right now. She has helped build houses in Mexico, participated in the Read Across America Program and tutored other students in math, English and reading.
She is actively involved in her local church, volunteering for Vacation Bible School, cleaning church grounds, helping with various youth groups, and baking goods for the homeless. She has journeyed to Mexico with her church for a brief visit to help an orphanage for the past two years.
“We helped build the foundation for a house last spring,” Lott said. “This summer we helped built an enclosed space for their garbage. They don’t have a trash collection system, so this keeps it in one place until they burn it. The second you cross into Mexico, it’s a different world.”
A winner of the Bach Competition as a pianist, she was selected as one of the students featured in the Antelope Valley Press’ Future Leaders edition in 2013.
NASA Armstrong Exchange Council scholarships are named for former employees of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, with honorees selected on a rotating basis. Scholarship funds are raised from various council activities, including proceeds from vending machine, Armstrong Gift Shop and cafeteria sales and various fundraising events.