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Horkheimer 2001 
Exceptional Young Astronomer Award Winners

Courtney Hale: 
Exceptional Young Astronomer

On  28 June 2001, AL Vice President Bob Gent announced the winners of this years Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Young Astronomers, presented each year by the Astronomical League.

The American Association of Amateur Astronomers is pleased to report that two of its young member were nominated for this award, and both were honored by the Astronomical League.

Sixth Place winner Courtney Hale is a member of Astronomical League through the American Association of Amateur Astronomers. She is a 13-year-old and attends Robinson Middle School in Topeka, Kansas. Courtenay was nominated by her mentor, AAAA member Brenda Culbertson,  who is a faculty member at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.

Courtney regularly volunteers her time during the open houses in Crane Observatory at Washburn University, and according to Brenda Culbertson, 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.

Ryan Hannahoe Visits with Comet Hunter and Author David Levy during Stellafane 2000

First Place winner Ryan Hannahoe, from Leesport, Pennsylvania, 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, as well as a member of the AAAA. He is well known at BCAAS meetings since he serves as that club's program committee chair. Ryan can be counted on always to 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. 

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. 

 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. 

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.

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Exceptional Service by Young Astronomers

by Bob Gent, Vice-President, Astronomical League

Now in its fourth year, the Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Service by a Young Astronomer, recognizes outstanding service by League astronomers under the age of 19. The League continues to grow at a fast pace, and with nearly 260 member societies and approaching 19,000 members this year, we had a record number of dedicated young astronomers nominated for this award. This year's judges were all past presidents of the Astronomical League: Barry Beaman, Orville Brettman, and Jim Fox. The judges had their work cut out for them. 

Award Background

This award is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Jack Horkheimer. The award is established to honor of Arthur P. Smith, Jr., the president of the Astronomical League from 1964-66. Mr. Smith inspired Mr. Horkheimer to become active in astronomy. Each year at the Astronomical League's convention, the League presents a check for $1,000.00 plus a plaque to our first place winning young astronomer. All finalists win a complimentary membership in the International Dark-Sky Association. The winner also receives a complimentary trip to the Astronomical League convention and awards banquet.

Any Astronomical League member under the age of 19 on the date of the application deadline is eligible to apply. 

The deadline for the next Horkheimer Service Award is March 31, 2002. The award is based upon service to the League or to any League society. This service could be educational outreach, observing skills at public star parties, or other astronomical achievements. Young League astronomers are eligible to apply for the National Young Astronomer Award, the Horkheimer Service Award, and the Horkheimer Planetary Imaging Award. We look forward to seeing many nominations and applications for future awards.

For additional information or applications, please contact Bob Gent, AL Vice President, via e-mail: BobGent@aol.com.

Find out more about the Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Young Astronomers, and learn more about this year's winners, on the Astronomical League Web Page.

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