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Rosemary Davidson and Zach Plotkin, seniors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, have been named Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholars. Davidson and Plotkin are two of three Clark School students to receive the honor this year, which honors seniors from various departments across the University of Maryland (UMD), as well as the university faculty and K-12 teachers who have contributed to their success.

The Philip Merrill Program aims to build a community of scholars who understand and celebrate the importance of teaching and guiding the next generation. As part of the program’s emphasis on mentorship, it awards a scholarship in honor of each named K-12 teacher to a new first year student from the teacher’s high school or school district. Both Rosemary and Zach selected Visiting Professor Dr. Mary Bowden as their university mentor. Davidson and Plotkin are two of 19 students university-wide highlighted for their accomplishments.

Rosemary Davidson is a rising senior in the Aerospace Honors Program and is pursuing the space track. She is the president of the Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WIAA) organization and vice president of the Sigma Gamma Tau National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society. Rosemary is currently working at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to complete her Aerospace Honors project, analyzing different guidance, navigation, and control algorithms to implement the most effective controller for a CubeSat in Low-Earth Orbit. 


In her website profile, Davidson named Dr. Donna Elshafei Atholton High School Columbia MD, and Department of Aerospace Engineering Visiting Professor Mary Bowden at UMD as integral to her success and growth, both academically and individually. She wrote of her university faculty mentor, “I attribute many of my academic accomplishments and decisions to Dr. Bowden’s guidance, and I cannot think of a better advisor and mentor.”

In his website profile, Zach named Matthew Noon, Pointers Run Elementary, Clarksville, MD. Of Dr. Bowden he said “Outside the classroom, Professor Bowden has given me guidance about my career path after graduation, showing the passion she has for her students and their success.”

The program will host a luncheon in November 2017 to honor these successful students and their mentors. Following the luncheon will be a workshop focused on collaboration and the importance of teaching and mentorship.




August 7, 2017


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