Mr. Roger Kassebaum to be awarded with AIAA Educator Achievement Award

Kassebaum with student
Mr. Roger Kassebaum working with a student. Photo by Noa Kattler Kupetz.

Sophie Golub

News Editor

At the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on May 11, Mr. Roger Kassebaum, director of the Mitchell Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), will be awarded with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautic Foundation’s (AIAA) Educator Achievement Award.

The award is presented to AIAA Educator Associates around the country who have promoted the continued study of science, mathematics, and technical studies within American youth.

The foundation itself recognizes the most influential and inspiring individuals in the field of aerospace study. The AIAA strives to acknowledge influential and inspiring individuals in the industry, making Kassebaum a clear-cut choice for the award.

“I think Mr. Kassebaum is highly deserving of this award because he has made an immense effort to coordinate the MAST program in order for Milken students to get a head start in becoming potential innovators of this emerging digital age,” Dan Gelfer ’11, science research student, said.

Ever since Kassebaum came to Milken eleven years ago, he has fostered and inspired Milken students. Because of him, students have really been able to explore and expand their passion in ways that were not previously possible at Milken.

As director of MAST, Kassebaum mentors students to explore their passions for science and technology through various opportunities.

Ten of his students have been published in scientific or medical journals. Handfuls of other MAST students have won prestigious awards, such as the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award and the Intel Science Talent Search, and some have competed in competitions ranging from Popsicle stick bridge building to science bowls to robotics.

While each of these student successes is the complete work of the student, Kassebaum dedicates hours and hours to help the MAST students out. He constantly works in the MAST room hours after the school has closed or on weekends.

“Whenever I have an idea regarding my research, the first person I got to is Mr. Kassebaum,” David Moghavem ’11, science research student, said. “He really knows what steps to take in order to make an idea come to life. Rather than telling me what I should do, he teaches me about the process of innovation and implementation. His skills in educating go way beyond the classroom. He has definitely redefined the possible capabilities a teacher can do to teach.”

Under Kassebaum’s guidance, students have been able to find researchers, mentors, doctors, and scientists in university labs and hospitals around the city to allow them to really understand the different industries they are interested in.

This national award and recognition allows Kassebaum to receive acknowledgement for all the work he has been doing throughout his time at Milken.

As part of the award, Kassebaum will receive gifts from the industry and a trip to Washington, D.C.