This site requires JavaScript in order to function properly. Please enable it for the best experience.

Space Dynamics Laboratory Recognizes Student Scholars

March 9, 2021

Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that it has inducted three students into its Student Scholar program. Pictured are SDL Program Manager Drew Somerville, SDL Software Tester Jason Wright, SDL Student Scholars Matthew Crump, Mellissa Rasmussen, and David Searle, SDL Scientist Brittany Woytko, and SDL President H. Scott Hinton. (Photo/Space Dynamics Laboratory).

Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that it has inducted three students into its SDL Student Scholar program.

Established in 2015, SDL’s Student Scholar program provides unique, substantive, and meaningful real-world experience to increase student knowledge, skills, and abilities. SDL Student Scholars exemplify excellence by maintaining a high grade point average, attending training sessions, participating in outreach, and completing a high-level project within the organization.

During a recent ceremony, the following students were recognized as SDL Student Scholars:

Matthew Crump

  • Project: Auto Documentation Generation
  • Description: Acceptance Test Procedures for Auto Documentation Generation includes three main sections: testing, reporting results to Jira, and producing an accompanying document. This program speeds up ATP testing, and an ATP document is generated automatically with the results, saving even more time. This process is well documented and easy to maintain for the team’s use.
  • Major: Computer Engineering
  • Year: Senior
  • Hometown: Tremonton, Utah

Melissa Rasmussen

  • Project: Agilink Communication over a General Purpose Interface Bus
  • Description: The Agilink software in SDL’s thermal vacuum chamber formerly communicated via serial ports only. Because this created conflicts with other software, I modified the design to allow it to communicate through serial or GPIB to allow easy extensions to other modes of communication.
  • Major: Physics & Computer Science (double major)
  • Year: Junior
  • Hometown: College Station, Texas

David Searle

  • Project: Bakeout Parameters Document
  • Description: To accommodate rising demand for SDL’s bakeout lab, I created an official SDL document that categorizes each material we routinely bakeout and its required parameters. This document compiles information from over 40 sources, including previously used contamination control plans from various programs.
  • Major: Kinesiology/Exercise Science
  • Year: Junior
  • Hometown: Shelley, Idaho

“The SDL Student Scholar program is a rigorous enterprise that provides unique opportunities for USU students to gain real-world experience in an organization that designs, manufactures, integrates, and tests space-based, airborne, and terrestrial systems for the government,” said H. Scott Hinton, president of SDL. “I’m pleased to recognize these fine students, and I’m proud of the work that they are doing at SDL.”

Each SDL Student Scholar is required to develop and execute a unique project that benefits the teams they are working with at SDL. Following successful completion of their project, the SDL Student Scholars give a presentation of their work to SDL executive management. David Searle said, “My team and supervisor were very enthusiastic about being able to use the results of my project with all our current and future bakeouts.”

Outside of the Lab and classroom, SDL Student Scholars participate in outreach, which is an integral part of the program. Outreach provides SDL Student Scholars the opportunity to work with people of all ages, introduce them to SDL, and encourage them to explore engineering and science. Referring to the inspiration the SDL Student Scholars program gave him, Matthew Crump said, “If you can’t see the sky, you won’t dream of flying.”

“This group of top students are in challenging disciplines at USU and work on customer programs at SDL. They have taken the initiative to complete the SDL Student Scholar requirements of attending six hours of training, as well as four hours of outreach on their own time, which demonstrates their commitment to learning,” said Brooke McKenna, SDL education and outreach coordinator. “Also, they gained program management experience by identifying, implementing, and completing projects relevant to the organization. The projects have had an impact on their departments, divisions, and in many cases, customer programs.”

In addition to regular compensation, SDL Student Scholars receive an honorarium of $500 per semester for up to four semesters.

SDL has been solving the technical challenges faced by the military, science community, and industry for six decades and supports NASA’s mission to drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth. As one of 14 University Affiliated Research Centers, SDL serves as a subject matter expert in its core research areas to the U.S. Government, ensuring that essential engineering and technology capabilities are maintained. SDL is a research laboratory headquartered in North Logan, UT, and has offices in Albuquerque, NM; Bedford, MA; Colorado Springs, CO; Dayton, OH; Huntsville, AL; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Stafford, VA; and Washington, DC. For more information, visit


Back to News