Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Engineer Chris Randall Honored With 'Trailblazer' Award for Mentoring Students in Fields Crucial to NASA Missions

Marshall Space Flight Center aerospace engineer Chris Randall was honored Feb. 18 for his career achievements, including mentoring minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- fields crucial to NASA missions.

Randall, a Chicago native, received the "Trailblazer" award at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony in Baltimore.

Randall supports the design and development of various propulsion system components for launch vehicles. In addition to his engineering duties, he works with the Marshall Center's Office of Academic Affairs as a mentor and recruiting assistant. A graduate of Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, he helps students there with senior engineering design projects, and emphasizes the importance of technology-driven careers.

"I think it's important to spread the word to young minority students interested in technical fields of study that there are so many terrific opportunities -- including what we do here at Marshall," Randall said. "Students need positive role models who will help them get exposure to and learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and math."

Chris Randall. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

Randall also is a participant in the NASA leadership development program called NASA’s Foundations of Influence, Relationships, Success and Teamwork program, or "FIRST."

He became a co-op at the Marshall Center in 2005, and joined the center full-time after he graduated from college in 2006. Randall has worked on life support systems for the International Space Station, component design and development for the Ares I rocket and supported the space shuttle program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

He was nominated for the "Trailblazer" award by his supervisor, Kevin Ward.

"Chris has demonstrated extraordinary dedication and enthusiasm in efforts to motivate, encourage and inspire students to pursue technical careers," Ward said. "He has done this while serving as an excellent employee in the challenging field of aerospace engineering. Chris truly is a trailblazer -- creating paths for others."

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards are presented annually during the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Global Competitiveness Conference. Since 1986, the conference has recognized the outstanding achievements of black professionals in companies across America.

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