Jerry Berg
Media Relations Department
(256) 544-0034

A graduate of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., is one of nine employees at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville selected for a 2001 NASA Fellowship.

Robert H. Champion Jr. recently participated in the Creativity and Innovation in the Organization Program at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Champion, who earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Auburn in 1986, this year is one of 48 NASA employees nationwide selected for the Fellowship Program. Participants are chosen for their leadership, management ability, work experience and achievements.

The fellowships are competitive, to make sure the most qualified candidates are selected for the right program at the right time in their career. Participants are expected to quickly apply their knowledge and share it when they return to NASA.

Champion is manager of the Internal Relations and Communications Department in the Customer and Employee Relations Directorate at the Marshall Center. The department serves as the focal point for all internal communications, ranging from publications and Internet sites to center-wide employee television. The department also communicates implementation plans, is responsible for the Center’s annual report, and gathers, archives and disseminates historical information about the Center.

Champion participated in the UCLA program in June, 2001. It is designed to help managers focus on creativity and innovation to maintain a competitive edge. The program also focuses on turning ideas into successful business solutions to make organizations more viable, responsive and profitable.

Champion started his NASA career in 1986 as an engineer in the Marshall Center’s Program Development Directorate. He became a lead engineer in the Propulsion Systems Branch before moving to the Propulsion and Mechanical System Division in the Propulsion Laboratory. There he served as a product development team lead and was a team lead for the vehicle subsystems engineering group in the Space Transportation Directorate before assuming his current position.

He has received several NASA honors, including the Marshall Center Director’s Commendation, two Group Achievement Awards and several Special Service Awards.

Champion is a native of Woodstock, Ala., and graduated from West Blocton High School in 1982. His wife Maria Speakes Champion and their children Beth, Robbie and Aubrey live in Merdianville, Ala. Champion’s mother, Linda T. Hammitt, resides in Woodstock.