Kahn Scholarship Student Winners


Natalie Bretton of Newport News, VA

Natalie Bretton

Current high school: Menchville High School
Attending in the fall: University of Virginia

I have participated in FIRST robotics programs for almost a decade. Now, as the mechanical fabrication lead and pit crew lead of Menchville High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition team, I am responsible for the design and building of our robots, training mechanical sub-team members on using machine shop tools, and troubleshooting mechanical problems under pressure. At competitions, I lead my team’s first all-girl pit crew to win several prestigious and technical awards, making us one of the youngest, yet most successful pit crews the team has ever had. My team also partnered with VCU’s Occupational Therapy program, where we worked collaboratively with Ph.D. students to design and implement assistive technology (AT) - technology that helps those with disabilities. I led the process of designing, modifying, and implementing AT, an experience that taught me just how much STEM can help the people around me. After completing 2 invitation-only NASA summer academies, I discovered that I have a passion for aerospace engineering. As a student at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology(GSST), I was able to further explore this passion through a mentorship at NASA. I worked alongside an aerospace engineer to develop a customizable turbofan engine component in a program called OpenVSP. I am going to continue this project through a paid internship this summer, and hope to publish my work. This coming year, I am excited to be attending the University of Virginia as a Rodman Scholar where I plan to double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Madison Chubb of Orlando, FL

Madison Chubb

Current high school: Timber Creek High School
Attending in the fall: University of Florida

My parents believe that growing up in their own country they were never permitted to figure out who they were. My four younger siblings and I are first-generation Americans, and have always been allowed and encouraged to follow our individual passions. This freedom has allowed me to discover who I truly am inside and what I want to do with my life. I have always been allowed to freely investigate everything I loved. I built, I fixed, and I took a zillion things apart. As a child I would spend hours in my sandbox building different shapes, or sitting on the floor pouring pasta from one saucepan to another through funnels and cardboard tubes. As a six year old I asked for a model jet engine for my birthday. Ever since then I knew I wanted to work with planes. I built hundreds of Lego sets, later moved onto Meccano and now VEX Robotics advancing to States and Worlds. All these things I did as a child have allowed me to realize my passion for aero engineering. Living in different countries I learned to be at ease with who I am. I was the one who was different, and I chose to embrace that, wherever I might be. I am so excited to take the next step into aero engineering and I look forward to all the new exciting things that my future holds!

Daichi Horiguchi of Manhattan Beach, CA

Daichi Horiguch

Current high school: Mira Costa High School
Attending in the fall: Stanford University 

I’ve had the chance to delve into many different endeavors and skills. I’ve painted thousands of artworks, recently got scouted into and entered a talent agency, have been learning martial arts for the past decade, and especially have spent a great fraction of my life on music. I began learning the violin when I was two and performed a solo with orchestra accompaniment by the time I was four. I have been on news and media since five and have led numerous orchestras as a concertmaster. Music has provided me with phenomenal opportunities like performing solo with the Mira Costa Symphony in Spain, performing for Mr. Bill Clinton, and getting to mentor many young musicians.

Despite my varying interests, engineering has always been my biggest passion. As a child, I used to break apart and fix household machineries like clocks and printers. I loved finding out the mechanics of any device and gaining knowledge by hands-on experience. I learned woodcrafting and the handling of electric tools in elementary-school, and I learned programming and 3-D modeling in junior-high. After learning metalwork during high-school I turned scrap pieces of motorcycles into a cafe-racer. I now feel that my childhood ambitions and curiosity have grown over the years. It’s always been my dream to become an astronaut, but now I cannot stand not knowing what lies beyond our reach in the universe. My absolute goal is to take part in the Mars colonization plans as an engineer-astronaut and help advance the astronautical-engineering world.

Gloria Johnson of Stafford, VA

Gloria Johnson

Current High School: Brooke Point High School
Attending in the fall: Washington & Jefferson College

Gloria Johnson is an aspiring aerospace engineer with the goal of changing the face of the fueling of aircraft. Gloria grew up as a military child and was born to immigrant parents from Liberia. As she constantly relocated, Gloria found her love for flying and aircraft. Because Gloria grew up with a more global perspective, due to her cultural background and constant relocation, she wanted to ensure that she was also learning from a holistic approach. To achieve this objective, she applied and was accepted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at her high school. IB is an academically extensive program that requires students to be well-rounded in their academics and extracurriculars. While in high school, she also participated in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Program (VASTS) which further inspired her to reach her desire of becoming an aerospace engineer.

In her pursuit of becoming an aerospace engineer, Gloria has accepted a summer NASA Internship prior to beginning college. She will attend Washington & Jefferson College in the Fall of 2021. She will participate in its dual-degree program with Case Western Reserve University where she will receive bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering. Gloria is thankful as the recipient of this scholarship to assist in supporting her education to help her reach her goals. This investment is not only a blessing to Gloria and her future but will also impact her contributions globally through Aerospace Engineering. Thank you for this opportunity!