Edgar Mitchell will present the check to Keith from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in room 101 of UCF’s Harris Corporation Engineering Center.

Keith, an Electrical Engineering major, developed a love for math and a curiosity of electrical power from her father, an electrician, as she grew up in the small town of Lake Alfred, Fla.

“I never envisioned contributing to a project involving outer space,” said Keith.

Keith is part of a team studying the effects of rocket exhaust on planetary surfaces for NASA. The research is led by Mathematics Professor Brian Moore. Keith hopes to one day work on industry projects for NASA or the National Security Agency.

The research involves mathematical modeling to determine how craters would form under different environmental, rocket exhaust and soil parameters. The research will aid NASA in deciding whether to build a landing pad on the moon or Mars for larger spacecrafts.

“This research experience has made me more appreciative of the persistence and devotion of the scientists who have come before me,” Keith said.

During the ceremony, Mitchell will share his experiences as a Lunar Module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission, including his 33 hours on the moon and two moonwalks. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science, technology, engineering and math undergraduate students based solely on merit. Keith is among 20 recipients this year.

Since 1986, $173,000 has been disbursed to UCF scholars, all of whom “exhibit motivation, imagination and intellectual daring, as well as exceptional performance, both in and out of the classroom,” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.