PEACH Award Winners

Background on the PEACH Award

Lewis Peach served as the Chairman of the RASC-AL Steering Committee for more than a decade as an inspirational leader, mentor, and friend. To honor Lewis’ ever-present, inspiring love of space exploration and learning, and for his enduring commitment to innovation and excellence, an annual RASC-AL innovation award has been established and bears his name as the “Pioneering Exceptional Achievement Concept Honor” Award.” The PEACH will recognize the most innovative idea or meaningful concept presented at the RASC-AL Forum. This award represents the incredible accomplishments Lewis made to space exploration, and links to the future promise of bright RASC-AL students who will hopefully follow in Lewis’ footsteps, blazing new trails for space exploration.


2019 PEACH Award Winner

The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Reason: In September 2017, the island of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. In response, students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez wanted to help rebuild their island after the devastation of the hurricane. Individuals from many disciplines banned together to learn something new - Aerospace Engineering - despite the lack of a dedicated program at their university. The team sought to increase their knowledge, and prove that anyone is capable of accomplishing anything if they put their minds to it. Their goal was to bring public attention to their island by highlighting their participation in RASC-AL. They were also determined to inspire the people on their island to continue pursuit of things that will improve their lives - just as Lewis Peach was determined to inspire others for the benefit of all.

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
-John F. Kennedy


2018 PEACH Award Winner

Dr. David Akin, Advisor from the University of Maryland
Reason: David Akin was presented the PEACH award for his efforts to invest in his students, present them with the best opportunities, and for embodying the part of Lewis Peach who believed in the future promise of bright RASC-AL students who will blaze new trails for space exploration. Dr. Akin has been advising successful RASC-AL teams from the University of Maryland for over 10 years.
UMD Story: https://eng.umd.edu/news/story/umd-rascal-team-wins-big-akin-recognized-with-peach-award

The past 6 years of UMD teams


2017 PEACH Award Winner

The PEACH Award was not presented in 2017.


2016 PEACH Award Winner

Pennsylvania State University with Wroclaw Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, University of Strathclyde, Georgia Institute of Technology, Munich University, University of Stuttgart, University of Colorado Boulder, Lulea University of Technology, University of Bologna, & the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Paper Title: IMaGInE Mission
Advisor: Davide B. Spencer, Pennsylvania State University
Reason: For an immense amount of cooperation and teamwork despite time, language, and cultural barriers; and for demonstrating that collaboration with commercial and international partners to enable NASA's goal of extending humanity's reach into space is not only possible, but advantageous.
Video of IMaGInE Mission presentation:


2015 PEACH Award Winner

Harvard University with the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, & North Carolina State University
Paper Title: Design of an Economically Sustainable Lunar Base
Advisor: Jonathan Grindlay, Harvard University
Reason: This special honor is being given to four young men who have chosen separate fields in engineering and science, but through strong friendships, are working together to pioneer new developments in space exploration.
Zack, Jack, Max and Chatham met in high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and have since moved on to four excellent universities across the country, to pursue different degrees. During their freshman year, these men sought this RASC-AL opportunity of their own accord, including an advisor. (Kudos to professor Josh Grindlay from Harvard for taking on this group and helping them.) They each worked individually as well together through group phone calls - which occasionally went late into the night and maybe, on occasion, they got a little sidetracked, as good friends do. Of course, that just brings another level of reward to the work itself – when you can share a passion with good friends. How lucky we would be if our best friends wanted to share their talents toward such a grand and noble goal despite long distances and other educational pursuits.
I think Lewis would be amazed by this group, impressed and excited for what they could contribute toward a better world and a better future. Pulling together young and diverse talent toward a mission to the moon would really impress him. He valued people and friendships and was always there to encourage us. I’m not sure what Lewis might say, but I think he’d want to let you know how special this friendship is, and that you are each talented young men, who have a very exciting future especially when you can work together to blaze new trails for space exploration.

Zack Polizzi, California Institute of Technology
Jack Allen, Harvard University
Max Tucker, University of California at Berkeley
Chatham Ellwanger, North Carolina State University