LANCASTER – The NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council has presented its 2019 Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship Award to Benjamin Haering, a 2019 graduate of Paraclete High School in Lancaster. Haering is planning to major in industrial engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, in the fall.
“It was pretty exciting,” Haering said. “Dad called to tell me I won and I was surprised. I see engineering as what I am geared for and I find high-level problem solving rewarding.”
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.
Benjamin Haering is the son of Ed and Kathy Haering of Lancaster. Ed Haering is a research engineer in the Aerodynamics and Propulsion Branch. He supports the Commercial Supersonic Transport project in the area of sonic boom measurement, prediction and propagation. He has been the principal investigator of many research efforts and projects related to sonic booms.
“I was excited and Ben was my first call when I learned he had earned the scholarship,” Ed Haering said.
Kathy Haering added, “I am proud of Ben for applying for the scholarship and thrilled that he earned this scholarship to help with the expenses of college.”
Haering earned a 4.57 grade-point average and was a valedictorian of his graduating class. In addition to excelling in advanced placement and honors classes during his high school career, he was a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the California Scholarship Federation. Haering also was involved in Spanish, Math, English and Science Honor Societies and the Key Club. He demonstrated his leadership and analytical skills through Mock Trial, where he led his team to many tournament victories, including a championship.
He also served as an intern for Assemblyman Tom Lackey and was a member of the Lancaster Youth in Government Program.
Haering participated in school athletic programs including cross country, track and field. He was a member of the Paraclete Liturgy Band and Choir, president and founding member of the local Cyber Patriots, a youth organization targeting cyber security and a writer for the Paraclete newspaper. Haering also volunteered at the Doggy Smiles Rescue adoption organization, collected food and clothing for the needy and volunteered at hospice care centers.
In the Boy Scouts of America, Haering earned the rank of Eagle Scout in November of 2018 with his project to improve the Paraclete campus. He is also a member of the Order of the Arrow, which is the Boy Scout’s National Honor Society. Haering is completing a term as a vice chief of his local Boy Scouts chapter.
The exchange council scholarships are named for former employees of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, with honorees selected on a rotating basis, such as Vensel this year. Vensel was a former director of flight operations at the center and a former NACA pilot at Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia. He retired from what was then Dryden Flight Research Center in 1966. Scholarship funds are raised from council activities, including proceeds from vending machines, the Armstrong Gift Shop, cafeteria sales and fundraising events.
[Information via news release from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.]