From the spring 2012 Oregon Stater
By Cathleen Hockman-Wert
Although many OSU undergraduate students participate in research with real-world application, it’s a rare project that ends up being blasted into outer space.
Last summer, following his sophomore year, Presidential Scholar Anthony Amsberry worked on experiments studying how fluids behave in microgravity. His findings were incorporated into the design of subsequent experiments conducted at the International Space Station.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the highly competitive Research Experiences for Undergraduates program brings students from universities across the country to a host institution to work with faculty scientists. OSU hosts several REU programs, but Amsberry spent his summer working at Portland State University’s Dryden Drop Tower: a laboratory facility in which items falling through a six-story tower experience two seconds of near weightlessness.
Amsberry’s team dropped fluid in tubes containing internal guides at different angles. A high-definition camera mounted in the rig recorded the results.
“My project involved a lot of data collection, video editing and frame-by-frame video analysis. It was really interesting to experience the whole research process, from start to finish,” Amsberry said. “When you have fluids in space, like you might see in a fuel tank, you have to know how to control the fluid as it is stored and transported. What we’re learning can be used to improve things like cooling systems and water treatment.”
Amsberry’s future plans are more down to earth; a bioengineering and University Honors College student, he wants to work in the biomedical field, developing better medical technologies for the health-care industry.
The son of Chuck and Carol Bartosz Amsberry, ’83, of Beaverton, Amsberry is a 2011-12 recipient of the Hawkin and Dorothy Au Presidential Scholarship. The Aus created the scholarship in 1998 to support students in the College of Engineering and College of Business. Hawk Au, who graduated with OSU business administration and engineering degrees in 1951, and Dorothy Yoshitomi Au, a 1954 graduate of the College of Science, continue to make regular gifts to build the scholarship endowment.
The Aus were students when many World War II veterans were on campus. “I was very fortunate to get to talk with people who had gone through a lot more than I had,” Hawk Au said, remembering how the life experience these veterans brought to discussions enhanced his own education.
He sees a connection with the extracurricular learning opportunities students like Amsberry are finding today through internships and research programs. “We learn most by doing, but our system has moved away from that,” Hawk Au said. “Book learning is important, but students also need to get hands-on experience.”
Scholarships help students pursue a variety of experiential learning opportunities. Presidential Scholarships are OSU’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship, offered to exceptional Oregon residents. Competition for the merit-based award is fierce; last fall, of the freshman students who met the stringent academic requirements, only 7 percent received Presidential Scholarships.
This winter OSU announced a new initiative aimed at encouraging donors to create endowed Presidential Scholarships with gifts of $100,000 or more. Like the Aus, these donors will have the opportunity to get to know their Presidential Scholars and see what a difference their support makes.
To Hawk Au, supporting talented students like Anthony Amsberry is simply a good investment. “I’m impressed with all those I’ve met. They’re a bunch of bright kids, and this is a chance for us to give them a little bit of support,” he said. “As a nation, we need to be more competitive. Compared to countries like China, we can’t produce nearly as many engineers, so we’ll have to make up the difference in quality.”
Presidential Scholarship Initiative
The initiative provides an extra incentive for donors to establish endowed scholarship funds with a minimum commitment of $100,000, instead of the traditional $200,000 commitment, thanks to support from the OSU Office of the President.
In effect through 2013, the program has the potential to more than double the existing number of endowed Presidential Scholarships awarded competitively to high-achieving, in-state students.
To learn more about the Presidential Scholarship Initiative, visit: campaignforosu.org/presidentialscholarships.
More than $135 million has been raised to date through The Campaign for OSU for scholarships and fellowships, the most ever raised by any Oregon institution campaign for student support.