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Wednesday, August 11, 2010Lipscomb Lady Bisons soccer player Kirsten Heikkinen has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Heikkinen, from Tullahoma, Tenn., is pursuing a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Math. The scholarship is one of 30 presented by AIAA to students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in aeronautics and astronautics.
“I joined several professional organizations like AIAA and the Society of Women Engineers,” Heikkinen said. “A lot of these organizations offer scholarships. I applied for those and I just happened to get one. It’s pretty exciting.”
Heikkinen is no stranger to the areas of aeronautics and astronautics. Heikkinen’s mother, Bonnie, works as a project manager for Aerospace Testing Alliance. The company is a contractor based at Arnold Engineering and Development Center, the largest flight simulation test facility in the nation, located at the Arnold Air Force base near Tullahoma.
“I have always been around it and associated with all of the things that go on there (AEDC) because I lived so close to it,” Heikkinen said. “When I got to Lipscomb I took one engineering class. I wasn’t sure I would like it or not, but I have always excelled in math and science.
“I like chemistry, but I really loved the engineering courses. I have always wondered how things work. Engineering really focuses on that.”
Heikkinen wants to ultimately be a designer.
Heikkinen, a junior forward, loves the sport of soccer though she sometimes wonders where she finds the time to compete. She is also a two-time Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic Team member.
“Engineering is a lot of work,” Heikkinen said. “I have to make time for soccer. I love it so much that I can’t give it up. I really have to focus on my time management.”
Lady Bisons soccer coach Jon Ireland is not surprised at Heikkinen’s successes both on the field and in the classroom.
“She is a very bright student,” Ireland said. “She picks things up very quickly. She has always been one of our hardest workers. “A work ethic is something that you can’t give a player. She has always had a tremendous attitude.”
Heikkinen is expected to play a forward spot this season, even though she has seen time as a defender and midfielder. “She is very versatile,” Ireland said. “You never hear her complain.
“She is a positive person. She obviously has a very bright future outside of soccer.”
Written by Mark McGee, senior pubblisher/director of media relations.