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Hudson Valley Community College Student Bradke of Latham Performs Research that is Out-of-This-World

CONTACT: Lisa Roche (518) 629-8063 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, November 20, 2000

Hudson Valley Community College student Brian Bradke '01 of Latham was one of 30 outstanding students from across the United States, Canada, Russia and Venezuela selected to take place in the NASA Spaceflight and Life Sciences Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this past summer. Bradke, an Engineering Science student, was one of the few freshman accepted from a highly competitive application pool of over 1,000 students. He was in good company: his fellow program trainees came from Harvard, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Rutgers and other stellar four-year engineering institutions.

Hudson Valley President John L. Buono said, "We are proud to have top-caliber students like Brian representing Hudson Valley on an international level. His research will be part of a future space mission!"

Bradke applied and was accepted in the Flight Operations and Engineering program. "I have been dreaming about getting to work on space missions and being on the space shuttle," he wrote in his application essay, "and I feel that Flight Operations…would help me realize this goal."

Image of Brian BradkeProgram participants spent an average of 25-30 hours per week in the laboratory. Bradke's project was a "reverse osmosis water filtration system." He worked with three other students and successfully got a system working to take dirty water and make it medical grade; their findings eventually will be published. Other student groups experimented with preparing tobacco hornworms to go up in flight and studied endangered species, including scrub jays, bald eagles and indigo snakes, on Cape Canaveral. Activities ranged from receiving special lectures from astronauts to having "astronaut training" at the U.S. Space Camp, to visiting the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the local planetarium. Highlights for Bradke included touring the vehicle assembly building where the shuttles are housed. The building is so big that it has its own weather system: 550 feet tall with a foundation 400 feet down. "It encloses eight acres," said Bradke. "You could fit Wrigley Field on top [of it]."

Bradke's family influenced his development; he recalls watching Star Trek with his dad as a kid, and proud mom is Cathy Bradke, School of Business '99. Bradke, who plans to pursue mechanical/aerospace engineering, says he left with "the thrill of knowing I had a hand in a project that could potentially be on an international space system." In the future, Bradke hopes to head up into space as an astronaut.

At Hudson Valley Community College, students benefit from easy access to dedicated faculty, small class sizes, and excellent laboratory and computer facilities. Hudson Valley's Mathematics and Science and Engineering Science programs also offer a variety of flexible class options, including evening classes.

Students in the program have transferred to such prestigious colleges as: Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, Union College and Clarkson University.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.