Alumna receives NASA award

September 13, 2017

University of Toledo graduate Maria Babula recently received an award from the organization that landed the first man on the moon and is responsible for overseeing U.S. space exploration and aeronautic research.


NASA’s press release on the matter explained that more than 100 NASA Glenn Research Center employees earned awards for their exemplary accomplishments in science, engineering, technology, leadership and administrative service, as well as their contributions to NASA’s mission during the 2017 Nasa Agency Honor and Center Awards Ceremony in Cleveland on Aug. 23.


“Maria was nominated for this award due to her high level of achievement and technical management competence in helping Glenn Research Center’s Research and Engineering Directorate make significant contributions to the aeronautics and space missions of NASA and for the nation,” wrote Rickey Shyne, director of research and engineering.


In an e-mail correspondence, Babula recognized the significance of her accomplishment.


“The awards are distributed to a limited number of individuals across the agency, so it is a real honor to be recognized with this Exceptional Service Medal and be one of this year’s recipients,” wrote Babula.


According to her biography on NASA’S website, Babula, a Toledo native, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Toledo.


Babula credits her successful career path to the tools and information provided by the university.


“The faculty and staff at the University of Toledo, and particularly in the computer science and engineering department (now EECS), challenged and encouraged me to achieve my goals. They made me aware of internship and other programs to expand my experience base,” wrote Babula.


Nick Dulaney, a fourth-year student majoring in physics with a concentration in astrophysics at UT, sees Babula’s accomplishment as evidence he is pursuing his professional goals in the right place.


“For me, she is an inspiration for my own career and a good example to follow. This shows that getting my degree at UT can help me reach my career goals,” wrote Dulaney in an email interview.


In receiving this award, Babula hoped it would act as a model to inspire students such as Dulaney currently studying at her alma mater.


“I encourage students to be curious,” wrote Babula. “Ask questions. Try new things. What you are doing now is only the beginning that can open doors to a wide variety of opportunities.”




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