VINTON–The National Space Club & Foundation has announced that Brianna “Brie” Belz from William Byrd High School has won the prestigious National Space Club & Foundation Keynote Scholarship for 2016. She will be the keynote speaker during the Club’s 59th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner on Friday, March 11, 2016 at the Washington Hilton.
Belz is a senior at William Byrd High School aspiring to study mathematics and biochemistry after graduation. Her impressive list of awards and honors include winning first place in the Roanoke County science fair in 2015. She is a National AP Scholar of Distinction and a member of the Insight (Gifted) Program. She is also a member of the Relate Club, the Prevention Club, and the Beta Club.
In her spare time, Belz interns at Roanoke Memorial Hospital under the Chief of Emergency Medicine.
Her AP Chemistry teacher Melissa Carr says that Brie “is such a phenomenal, mature, and extremely intelligent young woman. She is always pleasant, intuitive, and thoughtful unlike any student I have come across in my 10 years at WBHS.”
“Brie is one of those students that every teacher wants to teach,” said Carr.
Belz is also the founder and president of the Math Pound, a peer-tutoring program for math at WBHS. She has a relative who always struggled with math, but traditional tutoring did not remedy the situation. Belz thought that peer tutoring might be more effective than tutoring by teachers or other adults. Fellow students might have a better perspective on what might be hindering the learning process. She also thought that students might be more willing to open up to their peers, especially those who are sometimes too reserved to speak up in class or even bring up questions with teachers outside of class.
Belz took her suggestion to WBHS math teacher Victor Maciel who helped set up the program, encouraged to see “students who wanted to help other students.”
The National Space Club & Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and through a continuing program of educational support. Awards are offered to recognize significant achievements in space science and enterprise. Scholarships and other education support are a major focus of club activity.
The National Space Club and Foundation Keynote Scholarship was created in 2012 and is provided to a high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student who has the intention to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.
In addition to serving as the dinner keynote speaker, Belz will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Applicants are required to complete an online application, and submit a video on why he or she is inspired by space, with finalists undergoing live remarks and interviews.
The Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner is the major event of the Washington space calendar. First celebrated in 1958, it is held each year near the anniversary of the first successful flight by Dr. Goddard of a liquid-fueled rocket.
The dinner brings together nearly 2,000 members of the government, industry and educational space community and is considered the industry’s premier gathering of space professionals.
In addition to the Keynote Scholarship, the club presents several awards at the dinner to a number of outstanding individuals for accomplishments in spaceflight, engineering, science, management and education. The premier award, the Goddard Trophy, is presented to the individual, group or program deemed to have made the most significant contribution to space activity in the previous year.
Belz is the daughter of Donn and Julie Belz.