Space – Teen of the Week: Ferrebee sets sights on WVU for career with NASA, SpaceX | News, Sports, Jobs
WILLIAMSTOWN — With plans to attend West Virginia University this fall, Wood County Christian graduate Ben Ferrebee received some good news before heading to Morgantown.
He was named the recipient of the Adolph & Edith Harris & Eleanor Tippens Scholarship.
The scholarship pays college expenses for four years to an accredited college or university in the state.
Each high school’s principal and guidance counselor in Wood County selects a maximum of two students to receive the award.
Candidates must be a resident of Wood County, eligible to graduate, show financial need and be of good character and reputation, unselfish and ambitious.
Unable to have the interview in person, Ferrebee said the interview was virtual.
“I had the interview over WebEx for the scholarship, I thought it went pretty well. I was a little bit nervous because it’s a huge deal,” Ferrebee said. “It felt really awkward and being online was weird. I couldn’t tell whether I should be looking at the interviewers’ faces on the screen, or if I should be looking into the camera. I couldn’t really tell.”
Ferrebee said he was surprised when he was first notified by Wood County Christian High School Principal Jane Smith that he was a recipient of the scholarship. Receiving the scholarship will be one less thing to worry about during school, he said.
“My principal Jane called me on Friday last week and told me I got it. I asked her if this is a late April Fool’s joke. I was kind of taken aback, obviously I’m very happy,” Ferrebee said. “It’s gonna be a big weight off my chest, not having to worry about it. With me being in engineering, you have to take some tough classes. So my hands are going to be pretty full and not having to worry about expenses is going to help me a lot.”
Ferrebee will attend WVU in the fall, majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Ferrebee said that one of the reasons he chose WVU was because of family that went there and he always enjoyed Morgantown when visiting the campus.
“WVU is sort of a family thing for me. Both of my parents graduated from there and my sister just graduated this year with a master’s degree. So a lot of it has to do with my family and it’s close to home,” Ferrebee said. “I’ve been up there a couple of times for my sister and I’ve gone on a couple of tours. I went on a tour of the engineering facility, and I love it up there. Morgantown is a beautiful city.”
Ferrebee also said that he’s always been interested in space. What made him go into mechanical and aerospace engineering was reading the autobiography of former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino.
“One of the reasons that drew me to engineering, in particular, was a book called Spaceman by Mike Massimino. He talked about all the struggles throughout his life in order to get to where he is. He was able to go to space and he became an astronaut,” Ferrebee said. “That whole book was very inspiring to me and other things have sort of inspired me to go down this path of hopefully working at NASA or SpaceX one day.”
During his time at Wood County Christian, Ferrebee participated in track and tennis. Ferrebee was part of the school’s sound crew. His duties included setting up equipment for events, running the sound system, setting up microphones, and controlling the projectors during chapel services. Ferrebee was also an assistant to the school’s technology team.
“I am glad to graduate, that’s something I’ve looked forward to. But I’m going to be leaving a lot of friends behind. It’s very close-knit there because there are so few people, pretty much everyone knows everyone there,” Ferrebee said. “It helps you build a tight bond with all the teachers, classmates, and other students. I’ve enjoyed my time there for sure.”
A member of Evergreen Bible Church in Williamstown, Ferrebee was involved in the youth group, vacation bible school and was an assistant to the Sunday school children’s teacher during service.
Tyler Bennett can be reached at [email protected]