Jennifer Kasper

Loras College student earns $5,000 NASA Scholarship

School an affiliate of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program

DUBUQUE, Iowa – A student at Loras College, a private, four-year Catholic liberal arts college, has earned a $5,000 merit scholarship from NASA. The prestigious scholarship goes to 10 undergraduate students across the nation pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering or math that support its mission.

Jeanie Kasper, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in math, received the scholarship which, she said, will provide her with the opportunity to continue her education.

“I’m very thankful and honored to be one of the people selected,” Kasper, originally from Waukegan, Illinois, said.

After winning the Loras freshman and sophomore engineering awards and being inducted into Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society, she began working as a physics teaching assistant where she meets with groups of about 15 students to answer homework questions. She also presents at Loras’ Heitkamp Planetarium and as secretary of the Loras Engineering Club, Kasper creates and delivers outreach programming.

“It has been deeply rewarding to see young children and adults catch a glimpse of the possibilities of science,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s these activities that remind me why I want to be a biomedical engineer.”

Kasper aims to earn her master’s degree in biomedical engineering and eventually design medical products to improve the lives of people on a global scale.

Kasper was able to apply for the scholarship because of Loras’ academic affiliation to the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC), a part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.

In 2017, Loras became the ISGC’s first academic affiliate since its founding in 1990. ISGC’s goal is to improve aerospace science, research, education, and outreach activities throughout the state.

The ISGC supports aerospace research, education, and outreach activities for all Iowans through five program categories: internships, fellowships, scholarships; higher education; research infrastructure; precollege; and informal education.

For students, the affiliation means more opportunities to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to a NASA research area or project. And like Kasper, Loras students can apply to internships, fellowships, and scholarships directly through ISGC or through NASA.

For faculty, membership means they can apply for funding through ISGC competitions in higher education and research infrastructure programs. Faculty can use these opportunities to conduct applied research and develop course curriculum dealing with NASA research areas.

Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.

Visit, call (563) 588-7100 or (800) 245-6727, like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege to learn more.

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