Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Student Kirk Olsen receives Paul B. and Ruth A. Hays Scholarship

Posted: November 10, 2015

Student Kirk Olsen receives Paul B. and Ruth A. Hays Scholarship Kirk Olsen

The Paul B. and Ruth A. Hays Scholarship was recently awarded to Undergraduate Student Kirk Olsen.

Olsen’s parents are U-M alumni, and Olsen grew up close to Ann Arbor in Chelsea, MI. “My dad and I would come in to football games when I was young, which was always very exciting,” Olsen says. “I have always enjoyed science and I love space. Michigan, of course, is also one of the top schools in the country so I knew that I wouldn't go wrong [in choosing U-M], especially in engineering.”

Olsen became interested in Climate and Space after hearing about it from his freshman year Resident Advisor (R.A.). At his R.A.’s recommendation, Olsen decided to take a course with Professors Perry Samson and Steve Bougher. “From there everything seemed to click into place. Dr. Bougher gave a lecture about the MAVEN [Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution] spacecraft and the goals of the mission and I was hooked. Once I declared to the department I asked Dr. Bougher if I could work with him doing research on the MAVEN project, and he agreed. I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Bougher ever since.”

The small size of the department is Olsen’s favorite thing about Climate and Space.

“The department is such a comfortable place and that creates an enjoyable environment for learning. Not to mention that the material is awesome. Since the class sizes are small, I have found it really easy to get to know the professors and they have always been there to help me get the most out of my classes and research.”

“When I received notice that I had been awarded the Paul B. and Ruth A. Hays Scholarship I was totally surprised and excited,” Olsen says. “I immediately called my parents to tell them the good news. I am extremely grateful to have been awarded this scholarship. I am strongly considering continuing my studies following graduation. I want to work towards a PhD. This scholarship will allow me to make this goal financially feasible. I am excited for the future.”

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