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Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence

Through a partnership with The Purdue Research Foundation, the Armstrong Family and Neil Armstrong’s friend, Jim Hays, ASF recognizes an Astronaut Scholar Alum who exemplifies personal character and professional achievement, and their work leaves an impact in their field. The nominating criteria embody Neil Armstrong’s core values and those of his colleagues, the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station astronauts.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is proud to announce that its 2022 Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence Honoree is Trent Kingery, a 1998 Astronaut Scholar from North Carolina State University.

Trent Kingery earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Systems Technology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Kingery was awarded the Astronaut Scholarship in 1998 while attending North Carolina State University. He has also earned a Master of Science from the Naval Postgraduate School and is currently a PhD candidate in Systems Engineering at Colorado State University.

When asked what it meant to be nominated for the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence Kingery said, “I am honored to be awarded the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence, an award that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This prestigious award was created by Neil’s children to honor his legacy and is supported by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and the Innovators Week & Gala sponsors. Neil Armstrong is a name recognized globally from first graders through senior adults. Many careers have been influenced by his accomplishments which include his dedication towards STEM and his famous quote ‘That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ I am included among those many people who have always looked up to him, idolized him, and wanted to be like him. With humble and deeply felt gratitude, I again thank the Armstrong family, the sponsors of the Innovators Week & Gala, and the Board of Directors of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for bestowing this honor upon me.”

For more than 24 years, Kingery served in the United States Marine Corps as an FA-18 Pilot, Head Flight Instructor, Acquisition Professional, and Avionics Technician. He participated in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and accumulated nine Strike/Flight Air Medal awards, flew 695.0 combat flight hours, flew 175 combat missions, and accumulated 165 carrier-arrested landings during his military career. Kingery honorably retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2014.

Since military retirement, Kingery has served in numerous positions including his current role of Chief Aviation Safety Officer for the Flight Operations Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He is a Supervisory Research Pilot, serves on the Board of Directors of Flight Operations and has accumulated over 4,000 flight hours in more than 23 aircraft. Kingery also owns Vertical Views Photography®, a professional aerial photography business.

Kingery has received the following special honors throughout his career:
  •   Nine (9) Strike/Flight Air Medals
  •   Joint Service Commendation Medal
  •   Two (2) Navy Commendation Medals
  •   Two (2) Navy Achievement Medals
  •   Iraqi Campaign and Afghanistan Campaign Medals
  •   Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals
  •   Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence (2022)

Kingery will be presented with the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence during the Innovators Gala on August 27, 2022, at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando, Florida. The Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence was established in 2016 through a partnership with the Purdue Research Foundation, the Armstrong family and Jim Hays, a friend of Neil Armstrong’s. Intended to pay tribute to the legacy of Armstrong and his fellow space explorers, this honor is bestowed upon an Astronaut Scholar alum who exemplifies personal character and professional achievement, mirroring the core values of its namesake.



Learn More: Click here to read the Jul 13, 2022 Press Release announcing Trent Kingery as the 2022 Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence recipient.



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    For more information about the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence, contact us at +1 407-362-7900 or info@astronautscholarship.org.

    Note: Neil Armstrong™ used with permission from The Purdue Research Foundation.


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