by Mitchell Kirk
When Jason “Jake” Hawes, a senior at Logansport High School, wrote the introduction to what he felt his autobiography would entail 50 years from now, he filled it with stories of his time at NASA, where he worked on manned missions to Mars, rover projects to Saturn’s moon Titan and the construction of a space elevator that transported cargo into outer space.
That exercise in autobiographical fortune-telling was actually an essay, one of several he submitted with his application for the prestigious Steven C. Beering Scholarship at Purdue University. Hawes, four other Hoosiers and five out-of-state students recently received the scholarship.
The award covers full educational expenses for a bachelor’s degree and the opportunity to pursue two other graduate degrees at the university, according to the university’s website.
“It’s hard to express,” Hawes said of how he was feeling when he heard the news. “I don’t really even know how to put it into words. I told them when they first told me, ‘It takes a lot to make me speechless,’ but they pulled it off.”
Another essay Hawes wrote for the scholarship covered where in the world he’d like to spend a week, of which he wrote about Istanbul for harnessing two of his favorite subjects. Engineering and history, he said, cross at the intersection of architecture.
Hawes also wrote about how he feels moving around the country throughout his childhood will help prepare him for college.
“I went to seven schools in six years,” he said. “It teaches you something about different people, about yourself, about how to socialize. I really do believe its has helped me along the way.”
Keeping in line with his autobiographical essay, Hawes plans to pursue studies in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue.
“In kindergarten or first grade, when everybody says they want to be a firefighter or a police officer or an astronaut, I never outgrew that,” Hawes explained. “I’ve always wanted to work in the space program.”
Hawes was the original winner of the Cass County Community Foundation’s Lilly Award, but turned it down after he was awarded the Steven C. Beering scholarship.
Jennifer Dexter, scholarship coordinator for the Office of Admissions at Purdue called the process for this scholarship “extensive and exhaustive” in comparison to the regular admission application.
“We’re looking at a strong academic candidates as well as individuals contributing to society and globally through their studies and hopefully through the pursuits of their careers,” Dexter said, adding Hawes was chosen for his participation in his community and high school, his high academic performance and well-written essays.
Hawes’s father, Kelly Hawes, manager of CNHI’s Indiana design center, called the news a “great honor.”
“It’s amazing for a parent to have a child win that kind of scholarship,” he said. “It certainly takes a big load off us in terms of coming up with money for college tuition, room and board and everything else.”
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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