Rising Star Award

About the Award

Each year the National Space Club Florida Committee recognizes one person who has made “above & beyond” contributions to the U.S. space program in Florida through technical, educational or leadership activities while still early in their career.

Nomination and Selection Guidelines

The nominee must be a government, military, commercial, educational or government contractor employee.

The nominee has made a significant “above & beyond” contribution to the U.S. space program during the past year or so through either technical, educational, or leadership activities.

The nominee must still be early in their career, recognizing the award is targeted toward younger achievers.

Participation as a public advocate for the space program will reflect favorably on the nominee but is not required.

Florida residency is not required to receive the award, but the achievements being recognized must have been made while employed in Florida.

Previously receiving an NSCFL Award does not automatically disqualify a candidate. The Award Selection Committee will consider the matter on a case by case basis.

Current Rising Star Award Recipient

2022 Alden Param

2021 Joseph Jones

After years as a Hydropower Mechanic with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and extensive mechanical/diesel experience with the U.S. Air Force, it didn’t take Joseph Jones long to make an impact at KSC.

Hired in 2017 as a Mechanical Engineer for Aerodyne Industries supporting the Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC), Joseph received the company’s prestigious President’s Award in 2018 for substantial contributions to the Crawler Transporter (CT).

Joseph and his teammates have received numerous accolades in the past few years upgrading the CT to support the Space Launch System.

His enthusiasm makes him a natural advocate and he has promoted the space program in print and social media.  An adept and engaging speaker, he is often called upon to address organizations about the iconic CT and he volunteers annually for the KSC Open House.

Joseph is also community-minded and has volunteered for the Parent/Teacher Board at Challenger 7 Elementary School in Cocoa, participates in the annual Indian River Lagoon cleanup, and provides weekend support at the Brevard Humane Society.

Joseph earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee State University.

He and his wife, Kailey, daughter Emiliana, and son Asher live in Port. St. John with puppies Dexter, Hazel and Princess and Sawyer the cat.

Past Rising Star Award Recipients

2020 Sean Schindzielorz

Sean Schindzielorz was born and raised in Melbourne, Florida. In 2014, he received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida, and is currently working towards his M.S. in Computer Science at that same school. Initially, Sean worked at Deloitte consulting as an entry level software developer on a variety of database projects.
As a lifelong Brevard resident, Sean was personally drawn towards the excitement of the space industry. In 2016 Sean joined Millennium Engineering and Integration Company as a software engineer, where he began working on a variety of aerospace software projects for the 45th Space Wing, NASA, FAA, and commercial aerospace customers.
In the ensuing years with Millennium, Sean’s technical acumen, process-oriented, and hardworking nature were recognized through several promotions. He currently works as the Software Engineering Manager for Millennium’s Product Development Center, where he manages an Agile team of software developers that maintain a wide variety of software products used by those same customers. The PDC’s products are primarily Range Safety focused and are used to help make the space industry safer for the public at large.

2019 Chelsea Partridge
Chelsea graduated from the University of North Florida with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2015. After graduation, she joined Lockheed Martin as a Test Engineer, and has four years of systems integration/mechanical test experience in support of commodity loading and fluids/mechanical spacecraft testing. She is a Certified Test Conductor also responsible for the safety of personnel and hardware during tests. She primarily supports the ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support Systems) for Orion. She has received numerous awards and honors from Lockheed Martin for her outstanding contributions to the corporation. While in college, she was an intern at Bacardi Bottling, GE Aviation, GE
Transportation, and a computer lab assistant at UNF. Additionally, she performs extensive academic outreach, starting with a Science Saturday program she started in college that was recognized by the City of Jacksonville for its effectiveness in engaging students in STEM.

2017 Matthew Breault
Matt is a Project Engineer with URS/AECOM, where he manages facility upgrade projects, supports long-range planning for NASA at KSC, and provides program management consulting to Space Florida. He began his space career in 2015 and has quickly proven to be an effective leader both in the office and out. Originally from New Hampshire, he now lives in Cocoa.

2016 1 Lt. S. Kyle Futch
Futch is with the 5th Space Launch Squadron at Cape Canaveral AFS. Following graduation from Texas A&M, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in May 2013 and posted at the Cape as a facilities manager. Promoted to First Lieutenant in 2015, he is currently a Lead Vehicle Engineer.
2015 Lt. Michael McClelland II
McClelland is with the 5th Space Launch Squadron at Cape Canaveral AFS. He is responsible for observing, monitoring, and analyzing Atlas V power systems readiness testing and operations. He entered the Air Force in 2010 and has an electrical engineering degree from George Mason University.

2014 Bill Chardavoyne
Chardavoyne was hired by URS Corporation in November 2008 and is currently a Mechanical Design Engineer for the Institutional Services Contract (ISC) at Kennedy Space Center. He is responsible for developing in-house and subcontract design packages to repair, replace and upgrade mechanical facility systems that will assist NASA in transforming KSC into a 21st Century Multi-User Space Port.

2013 Lt. Rachael Nutting
Nutting is an Emerging Launch Vehicle Engineer at the 45th Launch Support Squadron at Cape Canaveral AFS. She integrates the activities of multiple federal, state, and contractor agencies to meet customer rocket processing and launch requirements, and is responsible for evaluating new commercial providers’ ability to launch satellites for the Department of Defense.

2012 Terry Tullis
Tullis has worked for Nelson Engineering Co. since 2005, where he provides safety and design engineering services for the aerospace industry and is active in the community supporting STEM educational programs.

2011 Megan Jaunich
Jaunich supports NASA’s Launch Services Division as a System Safety Engineer on the Safety and Mission Assurance team. As part of the SMASS contract at KSC, her duties include overseeing Mission System Safety, Ground Systems Equipment System Safety, Operations Safety, and Emergency Response relating to ELVs, spacecraft, processing facilities, processing, and launch operations.