Joseph Piotrowski is the first recipient of the William J. “Pete” Knight Excellence in Aerospace Scholarship presented by the Flight Test Historical Foundation at the recent Annual 2015 Excellence in Aviation Awards Dinner.
Joseph was born and raised in the Antelope Valley and comes from an aerospace family. His grandfather was Avionics Branch Chief for NASA, his mother a Program Control Manager for the Air Force and his father is currently the Missions Director of Aeronautics at NASA Armstrong.
Joseph credits his interests in aeronautics to the mentorship provided by his family, teachers and college professors who have provided guidance and subject matter content that has spurred him on and helped him develop his life’s vision and personal goals. Joseph plans for a career in engineering, “as the perfect way to be creative”. He wants to parlay his “strong background in mathematics and science” to become “part of a team that plans, builds and creates new technology”. Joseph has developed a very practical and mature approach to his future career. To achieve his goals, he began his education at Desert Christian High School, was a June 2015 graduate from Antelope Valley College with a 4.0 GPA, and is matriculating to the California State University, Long Beach – Antelope Valley Engineering Program at the Lancaster University Center to complete his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
To add to his engineering education, Joseph, along with three other students and a faculty member from the Antelope Valley College Engineering-Physics Department, are working at Armstrong Test Center this summer. Through the NASA Flight Opportunity Program, they are developing a Glider Prototype that will fly as a CubeSat on a future exploratory satellite mission to the Red Planet, Mars. It will fly slowly through the Martian atmosphere capturing scientific information as it descends to the surface of the planet, with the captured information slowly being transmitted back to Earth. Joseph is a member of two teams, the Atmospheric Characterization Team working to determine flight characteristics in the unique Martian atmosphere and the Testing and Environmental Team that is preparing for tests in an environmental chamber. What a project!! What an experience!! Without a doubt, Joseph is a worthy recipient of the first William J. “Pete” Knight Scholarship; moreover, this is not only an investment in Joseph’s future but also in all of our futures. Congratulations Joseph!