The Lt. Col. Kenneth Rondo Carson and Virginia Bryan Carson Graduate Fellowship is an endowment established by the estate of Virginia B. Carson, honoring her husband, a former member of the "Flying Tigers," a former member of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff Strategic Air Command, retired master navigator and enthusiast of space exploration. Colonel Carson greatly admired the professionalism and accomplishments of NASA's space program. The Carson Fellowship is awarded to students pursuing degrees in the Department of Planetary Sciences, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, selected on the basis of academic achievement and the promise of further scholarly endeavor.
2015 Carson Fellowship Awarded to Nathanial Hendler
Nathanial Hendler is the recipient of the 2015 Carson Fellowship Award, which provides one academic year of support, including salary, tuition and a small supply stipend. Nathanial is beginning his first year of graduate studies at LPL.
Nathanial grew up in Colorado and had an early fascination with insects. After high school, he spent over ten years as a computer programmer, which included working at an early internet service provider, designing databases for several internet-bubble startups, and working at Sony creating video games. Nathanial took a break from the software industry with a variety of jobs which included a glass-blowing apprenticeship and work as a baggage handler at the Tucson International Airport. A stint as a cargo worker at the South Pole led to a renewed interest in science as a career. Nathanial enrolled at Pima Community College (Tucson) and in 2015, earned his Bachelor's degree in Geosciences (with minors in Planetary Sciences and Mathematics) from the University of Arizona. His undergraduate research projects included protoplanetary disk dispersal with Dr. Ilaria Pascucci; the fabrication and spectroscopy of ice dwarf analogue ices with Dr. Will Grundy (Lowell Observatory) and Dr. Stephen Tegler (Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University); NASA Space Grant; paleoseismology in Southern California with Dr. William Bull (Professor Emeritus, UA Geosciences); and Salt River Canyon detrital zircon dating with Dr. George Gehrels (Professor, UA Geosciences)
Nathanial is currently working with Dr. Pascucci to investigate the disk mass stellar mass relation using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. He is interested in the evolution of the Solar System, planet formation, and the cosmochemistry of protoplanetary disks.
When he's not focused on his academic and research pursuits, Nathanial is busy entertaining his nine-month old daughter. Before starting graduate school and becoming a father, Nathanial's extracurricular hobbies and interests included baking bread and restoring radios and TVs. He admits to having authored the only Macintosh System 6/7 Twitter client and part of his personal insect collection is on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.