Hessberg Scholarship

Applications for the 2020 Hessberg Award are now open!

2020 Hesseberg application

Application deadline extended to Wednesday, due February 26th, 2020



Astronomy Camp students at Mt. Lemmon, AZ

The purpose of the Hessberg Award is to provide an opportunity for high school sophomores or juniors in the Capital District of New York to participate in a week-long research experience in astronomy at the Advanced Astronomy Camp in Tucson, Arizona.

Students are housed in the astronomers’ dormitories on Kitt Peak, near Tucson, and work with a variety of telescopes there.  They participate in various hands-on astronomical projects under the general supervision of astronomer Dr. Donald W. McCarthy, Jr. and his colleagues from Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona.  In addition, campers will attend lectures by local and visiting astronomers on current astronomical research. This award will pay all registration and travel.

Funding for this award is through a collaboration between the Dudley Observatory and University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory.

For more information about the program, check out: www.astronomycamp.org

“Astronomy camp was an experience like none other; I’ll never forget the extra-dark night sky visible from the mountain and the memories I made there. From noon to sunset, I got to expand my mind with hands on experiments and projects, ranging from the properties of liquid nitrogen to potential life on Mars. From sunset to sunrise, I got to use professional observatories to conduct real research that was personalized and exciting, and learned how to navigate the night sky like a seasoned pro. All the while, I worked with councilors who have personally impacted the scientific community, and made lasting connections with fellow campers from across the nation.”   – Sara Eberlin, 2017 Hessberg Award Winner



  • Sophomore or Junior in the current academic year
  • Attends high school in Albany, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady or Washington Counties
  • Must have completed Algebra II, Geometry or the equivalent
    Astronomy Camp does not presume, or require, a background in astronomy.

Nomination Procedure

Candidates must apply through their school, rather than by applying directly to the Dudley Observatory. There is no restriction on the number of nominees per high school.

Students and parents should complete the application materials linked above, and contact the school science teacher for a letter of recommendation.

Completed applications must be submitted by the science teacher or principal to the Dudley Observatory via mail or email.

Each nominee must submit:

  • A completed copy of the Hessberg Astronomy Award Application.
  • An essay of 1200-1500 words on an astronomy topic (see application)
  • A confidential letter of recommendation from a science or math teacher.

Past Hessberg Scholarship Winners

Year Name High School
2019 Maeve Owens Voorheesville High School
2018 Marguerite Gilman Emma Willard
2017 Sara Eberlin Saratoga Springs High School
2015 Katya Leidig Saratoga Springs High School
2013 Isza Ceesay Troy High School
2012 Hannah Peltz Smalley Doane Stuart
2011 Samantha Scibelli Burnt Hills Ballston Lake High School
2010 Craig Maughan Burnt Hills Ballston Lake High School
2009 Brennen O’Donnell Hoosick Falls HS
2008 Dan Mancuso Scotia-Glenville High School
2007 Michael Ormsbee Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Senior High
2006 Rebekah Sokol Albany Academy for Girls
2004 John Qi Shaker High School
2003 Katherine Hartman Guilderland High School
2003 Danielle McMullen Broadalbin-Perth High School
2002 Annie Barney Academy of the Holy Names
2002 Caroline Feinberg Albany Academy for Girls
2001 Uyanga Chuluunbaatar Rensselaer High School
2001 Elise Stefanik Albany Academy for Girls
2000 Ben Herbert Saratoga Springs Senior High School
1999 J. Cramer Silkworth Maple Hill High School
1999 Tyler Callahan Hoosick Falls Central School
1998 Molly E. Harro Schuylerville Central School
1998 Timothy Mosca Shaker High School
1997 Casey Kirkpatrick Johnstown High School
1997 Kirstin Milks Shaker High School
1996 Annette Grajny Bethlehem High School
1996 Daniel Murphy Christian Brothers Academy
1995 Elizabeth Waterhouse Shaker High School