Robert Russell Cook Memorial Scholarship

Robert Cook 2


The Robert Russell Cook Memorial Scholarship

Robert Russell Cook was born on August 25, 1992 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father and I amusingly recall that the barometric pressure from Hurricane Andrew spurred on his delivery. His love for science perhaps started from day one. "Robby" loved nature, and being outside. His keen observation skills were shared by his brother and sister. They would spend hours together watching ants march through the sprinkler water, blue tailed lizards running between bushes, and their dogs chasing each other around the yard. Robby began fishing at an early age, and had a natural patience for the sport that many never experience. He enjoyed tying on his favorite lures, casting his line into the water, the catch, and especially the day. His beaming smile, when he caught a fish, was a joy to see; as well as his quiet manner when he released his prized catch. His laughter prompted by fish stories from family fishing trips is a cherished memory in my heart. Overall, Robby's wide eyed curiosity about the world as a child, evolved into a quiet sense of wonder as an adult.

Robby attended Rio Rancho Public Schools, and graduated from Rio Rancho High School in 2010. He was involved in robotics, and completed several science projects throughout his Rio Rancho school years. Also during his high school years, he was an impressive assistant to his Dad with the construction of a new addition to our home. He enjoyed learning how things worked, and how things were built, from his Dad. Over the years, Robby loved watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, Myth Busters, and the Discovery channel features .His imagination flourished. He built amazing structures with Legos including the Star Wars Death Star. He played action video and computer games with friends and family. He displayed his competitive side by playing soccer, and downhill skiing. He learned many life lessons from listening to countless stories from family and friends who loved his company. He became the family 'fix-it' man; always thoughtful in his response and action.

Robby applied and was accepted to New Mexico Tech in 2009. He began his studies at New Mexico Tech during the fall of 2010, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Robby was an excellent student; hardworking and responsible. The conversations we had regarding his classes and projects at Tech were intelligent and energetic; far beyond my understanding. But that doesn't matter; I am his proud Mom. He was fascinated with space exploration, and visited the Space Center in Houston with his brother and cousins. Robby and his sister talked about future planetary excursions. One of our family trips to visit Robby at New Mexico Tech included a drive to the VLA past Socorro. Lots of planetary discussion that day! During his senior year at New Mexico Tech, Robby was a member of the Space Structure Design Clinic Team. He and his team members participated in a successful rocket launch into sub-orbital space at the New Mexico Spaceport. He recounted his experience at the spaceport with his teammates and his advisor/ mentor, Dr. Zagrai, with pride. And, of course with a big smile.

Robby enjoyed his mechanical engineering curriculum, but was also interested in Materials. He even took an additional Materials class at Tech as an elective. During the summer of 2013, Robby started as a year -round intern in the Materials Reliability Department 1818 at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He enjoyed being under the tutelage of his manager, Jill Glass, and Sandia Researcher, Mike Dugger. Robby worked on the tribology team, and used his mechanical engineering skills to research the friction and wear behavior of diamond-like carbon thin films. Mr. Dugger stated in a wonderful Sandia National Laboratories article about Robby that he was enjoying the process of discovery, and that Robby was a valuable member of the tribology team.


Robby passed away in February, 2014 during his senior year at New Mexico Tech. His life was filled with love and positive intention. During the Commencement Ceremony at New Mexico Tech in May 2015, Robby received an Honorary Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. My family is so grateful to the leaders and students at New Mexico Tech; especially Robby’s former teacher and Department chair, Dr. Warren Ostergren, for their kindness. And we are so proud of Robby and all of his accomplishments at New Mexico Tech.

            As a family moving forward, and with the gracious guidance from New Mexico Tech, we have established the Robert Russell Cook Memorial Scholarship. New Mexico Tech is an exceptional university and we would like to award an annual scholarship to a New Mexico Tech engineering student in Robby’s memory, In Robby’s honor we look forward to helping students envision and realize the possibilities of the future.


Robert Russell Cook Memorial Scholarship Application