The Jack Horkheimer Award - 2001 Winners

First Place: Ryan Hannahoe

Our 2001 winner is Ryan Hannahoe, from Leesport, Pennsylvania, and he will be a sophomore in high school this fall. Ryan will receive the $1,000 cash award at the ALCON awards banquet on July 28 in Frederick, Maryland.

Ryan is a member of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society, and he is well known at BCAAS meetings since he serves as his club's program committee chair. Ryan can be counted on to always be there to promote astronomical activities. He has a passion for astronomy, and his enthusiasm is always glowing. Over the past year, he volunteered to help organize and run dozens of public star parties and events. After hearing of our need for help with a League website, Ryan took action. He designed the site for the 2001 joint astronomical convention (ALCON 2001) which will include meetings of the Astronomical League, IOTA, ALPO, and IDA. This is a very impressive achievement for a high school freshman. Ryan has also given the Youth Activities Committee a breath of fresh air with renewed enthusiasm. He also developed and runs a new web page to promote "Youth in Astronomy."

Always looking for ways to help the League, Ryan has written several articles for the Reflector, our quarterly newsletter. He has also been instrumental in the fight to preserve the beauty of our night skies in Pennsylvania. Ryan has written letters and met with elected officials, including US Congressmen to discuss how to solve the problems of light pollution. A new Pennsylvania light pollution law may soon pass, and Ryan has been there every step of the way to help push it along.

Ryan has a long list of awards. He recently completed the construction of his 6-inch Newtonian telescope, and last year at Stellafane, Ryan won first place in the junior level for telescope making. Ryan has won awards from his local astronomy club, and he has competed in the science fair with his telescope making project. He has written a paper on telescope making techniques. Never leaving any rock unturned, Ryan also started a new high school astronomy club which immediately joined the League and IDA. We could write a long essay about Ryan's other outstanding achievements. There is no doubt why Ryan won this award!

Second Place: Jonathan Casselman

Our second place winner is Jonathan Casselman, a high school graduating senior from home school in Deer Park, Washington. A member of the Spokane Astronomical Society, Jonathan served on the staff for AstroCon 1999 in Cheney, Washington. You may have seen him there helping keep this outstanding convention running smoothly.

Jonathan has received a long list of awards, including many impressive astronomical achievements. He has written numerous articles published in astronomy club newsletters, and he has written for the Reflector. He has already completed eleven of the Astronomical League observe programs, including the Herschel 400. He is likely the youngest person ever to complete the Herschel 400!

Jonathan has also tackled the problem of light pollution, and he works with his utility company on the installation of Hubble Skycaps to control light pollution. His report on the "Dark-Sky Preservation Project" is quite impressive, and it sets the standard for others to follow. With people like Jonathan tackling light pollution, we are in very good hands.

In the words of the Spokane Astronomical Society Vice-President, Bill Cotten, "Jonathan's dedication and determination have influenced adult and youth members to strive for their own goals and to realize that it is not impossible to reach for the stars." We will be hearing more for this outstanding young man in his future astronomical endeavors.

Third Place: Jeff Venable

Jeff Venable is the third place winner in the 2001 Horkheimer Service Award. Jeff is a member of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society (CSAS) and he will be a senior this fall at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. CSAS Vice-President, Chris Earley, writes, "At 16 years of age, Jeff is more than a mere attendee at our club functions, he is indeed at the very core of our club's success. Jeff never backs down from a challenge, but rather embraces the opportunity to improve himself and other astronomers. As the youngest person to ever serve on our board, Jeff has readily stepped up to the plate and assumed additional duties and responsibilities to bring the joys of astronomy to everyone in the Colorado Springs community... Jeff continually supports the public star parties we hold throughout the area in spite of a busy scholastic schedule. Jeff's unique position in our club as a young astronomer provides us with new insights on how best to present astronomical ideas to the many students in our area." Jeff is an active member of the planning committee for the annual four day star event, "Rocky Mountain Star Stare", and he is well respected by all.

Mr. Earley concludes his nomination by stating, "I can think of no person who better embodies the ideals of this award than Jeff Venable."

Fourth Place: Erik Sogn

Erik Sogn is an award winning, home schooled senior, from Portland, Oregon. He is a member-at-large in the Astronomical League and a member of the Rose City Astronomers.

Over the past eight years, Erik has spent more than 600 hours volunteering at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. When he joined as a volunteer at the age of ten years, he was the youngest classroom assistant ever to join the OMSI team. Every summer, he has taught "Crazy Constellations", an astronomy class for elementary students. Erik writes, "No matter what my future career may be, I know I will always volunteer and reach out to others with what I know about astronomy. I will always take the time to help others find the North Star."

Erik was selected by Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth as well as other educational programs for exceptional high school students. Last summer, Erik attended the National Summit of Young Technology Leaders in Austin, Texas, where he won a special certificate of achievement. This honor was reserved for the top one-tenth of one percent of all high school students.

Fifth Place: Kimberly Parish

Kimberly Parish, a student at Potter Gray Elementary School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, won fifth place in this year's competition. Kimberly is a founding member of the Hilltopper Astronomy Club in Bowling Green.

Kimberly is currently enrolled in Astronomy 104 at Western Kentucky University, where she is the first elementary student ever to enroll in a college course at Western. At the mature age of ten, Kimberly says, "Since I was little, I've been interested in planets and galaxies, but at the university I learn about the different laws, like Newton's..."

Last April, Kimberly was one of only six students from the USA selected to attend NASA's "Brightest Stars Space Camp" in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, she studied with other bright students selected from international countries.

Sixth Place: Courtney Hale

Courtney Hale, member of Astronomical League through the American Association of Amateur Astronomers, is our sixth place winner for 2001. She is a 13-year-old and attends Robinson Middle School in Topeka, Kansas.

Courtney regularly volunteers her time during the open houses in Crane Observatory at Washburn University in Topeka, and according to Brenda Culberson, the Observatory Director, "She is a devoted young assistant who is more dependable than some of my paid assistants. She shows up in all temperatures to help with viewing sessions and special events we conduct." Courtney presents astronomical information to the general public, whose numbers range from 20 to 300 during the sessions. She has also learned to run the 110-year-old telescope we use in the observatory as our main instrument. During the year of 2000, we had 1225 people attend open houses and special viewing events. Courtney assisted in most of the 26 sessions held last year.

Other young people see her do these things, and they catch her excitement for viewing. Courtney has shown people that our youth still have what it takes to make it in the sciences.