PALMDALE – The NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council has presented its 2016 Thomas W. Finch Memorial Scholarship Award to Katelynn Dinius, a 2016 graduate of Paraclete High School in Lancaster.
Katelynn is planning to major in mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University this fall.
“I have liked math since elementary school, and I looked for majors to fit my interests,” she said. “Mechanical engineering looks like a good fit, and I would really like a job in aerospace.”
The annual scholarship provides $2,000 a year for up to four years for attendance at a four-year college or university. The recipient must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or higher to retain the scholarship. Applicants must be high school seniors whose parents work at Armstrong.
“I am really excited for her,” said Katelynn’s mom, Dede Dinius, a NASA Armstrong visual information specialist. “She has always been financially aware and now she has earned some contributions toward her education. I am excited for her that her hard work has been acknowledged.”
Clint Dinius, Katelynn’s dad, added, “I’m thankful for NASA Armstrong’s support of Katelynn’s education.”
Katelynn earned a 4.28 grade-point average and was valedictorian of her graduating class. She earned the Principal Award for academic achievement every semester, the Curriculum Award of Excellence and the Advanced Placement Calculus Subject Award. She also was a member of the national English, Spanish and honors societies and the California Scholarship Federation.
She also is a member of Mu Alpha Theta (the United States mathematics honors society). During her last semester at Paraclete, she was part of the Lockheed Martin Corp. Conceptual Design Internship program.
Katelynn was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from California Senator Steve Knight and a scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers. She was actively involved in the Rosamond Civil Air Patrol and tutored students, as well as taking piano lessons and ballet classes.
Katelynn lettered as a member of the varsity cross-country and track teams. She was an active member of the Key Club, Irish Club, Drama Club and the Environmental Club. In addition, she was a news editor for Clete News and communications officer and retreat leader for the Campus Ministry. As part of her involvement in her church youth group, she does monthly community service projects.
The 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 council activities, including proceeds from vending machines, the Armstrong Gift Shop, cafeteria sales and fundraising events.