USU Space Dynamics Lab Scholarships Honor Women in Science and Engineering

By Kinsey Love
USU VP Research Office
December 12, 2007
Sara Isert

Aerospace engineering student Sara Isert

Taren McKenna

Physics major Taren McKenna

The Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory has created a new scholarship to encourage and honor women who are pursuing careers in science and engineering.

The inaugural scholarships were awarded to Sarah Isert and Taren McKenna.

Isert is an engineering student studying aeronautics and McKenna is a physics major from the College of Science. The students were chosen based on a passion for science and engineering, outstanding grade point average and desire to pursue further careers in their chosen majors.

“The competition for the SDL scholarship was intense,” said Michael Pavich, director of SDL. “Many admirable candidates presented themselves, but we feel Sarah and Taren rose above the rest and are worthy and deserving students.”

Isert said that when it comes to a career in science, she has many goals.

“This scholarship will help me achieve my educational goals, and eventually I hope to be able to make a significant contribution to the world,” said Isert.

Isert is a sophomore studying aerospace engineering who wants to earn a doctorate in aeronautical engineering and eventually become an astronaut. To aid in her pursuing this goal, she plans to earn an Airline Transport Pilot’s license, allowing her to fly jets. Isert is part of the USU Honors program and is a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship.

“I appreciate that this scholarship encourages women to pursue careers in the sciences, and it helps me look forward to my own science career,” said McKenna.

McKenna is a sophomore in the physics program who is also studying calculus, computer science and other honors courses. She plans to continue with her education to earn a master’s and doctorate and would like to become a university researcher. She is part of the USU Honors program and is a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship.

The SDL scholarship is for second-year women studying science or engineering. The award is $500 per semester for a total of $1000 per year, and is renewable annually for two additional years, based on a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Recipients are considered for employment at the Space Dynamics Laboratory.

SDL is a nonprofit research corporation owned by Utah State University and is a unit of the USU Research Foundation. SDL focuses on researching and creating new technologies for the military and science arenas. The laboratory is a leader in the development of sensors and supporting technologies, and it has developed revolutionary solutions in the collection and use of data. SDL works closely with NASA and other programs to give students hands-on job experience in science, engineering and business.

For more information about SDL, visit or email

© 2007 – Utah State University