RAPID CITY, S.D. — William Jackson “Jack” Carpenter of Sheridan is a metallurgical engineering major starting his senior year at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after spending the summer at NASA.

While at NASA, Carpenter’s work centered around research in high temperature materials for nuclear thermal rockets. This kind of rocket could someday be used to enable human travel to Mars. Carpenter also worked in the failure analysis material science group where he utilized x-ray characterization and other tools to test and analyze friction stir welded or broken parts to understand how to avoid failure in future designs.

Carpenter is also a 2019 Barry Goldwater scholarship recipient. The award is known as the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in America.

“I’m really thankful for a lot of people in the metallurgical engineering department and for the recommendation letters from my mentors NASA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” Carpenter said. “This all gives me the confirmation that I’m on the right path to continue towards a Ph.D.”

Michael West, a Ph.D. and head of the department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at Mines, said Carpenter is a humble student that accomplishes great things in the classroom and national stage conducting world-class research.

“He has had a great impact on our program and always has time to help his fellow students or use his hands-on skills to get the next generation of young students interested in science and engineering through outreach activities,” West said.