In Memory of Alex Stuber

In Memory of Alex Stuber

For Alex Stuber, an impromptu weekend trip to see NC State’s football team take on the University of Maryland Terrapins made perfect sense. The spontaneous move fell right in line with his zest for living life to the fullest and experiencing the moment with the ones he cherished the most — family and friends.

Alex graduated from NC State in 2010 with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering; he maintained a perfect 4.0 and was among the valedictorians. Two years later, he earned his master’s degree in aerospace engineering. The hard work was a buildup toward a promising career with one of the top organizations in the aerospace industry — NASA.

Tragically, Alex’s life ended June 14, 2013, when he passed away following a car accident. He was 25 years old.

In his honor, Alex’s family has endowed the Alexander Lee Stuber Memorial Scholarship to support undergraduate students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The family has strong ties to NC State. Alex’s father, Charles “Chuck” Stuber Jr., and paternal grandparents are alumni; his paternal grandfather, Dr. Charles Stuber, is professor emeritus of genetics and director of NC State’s Center for Plant Breeding and Applied Plant Genomics.

“If we can help someone who has a dream of being an engineer and needs some financial help, NC State is a good place to put those resources,” said Chuck Stuber, a special agent with the FBI. “Maybe one of those students will end up going to NASA and following in Alex’s footsteps.”

Alex’s journey with NASA began when he received a prestigious scholarship in 2008.

“I think one of the things that attracted Alex to NASA was that the people were incredible,” Chuck Stuber said. “Their mission was different — it wasn’t about making money. It was about maybe doing something that had never been done — exploring new frontiers.”

While a student at NC State, Alex completed summer internships and was in the Co-op program in Edwards, Calif., at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, which was recently renamed the Armstrong Flight Research Center. During one of his assignments, he had a chance to work on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world’s largest airborne astronomical observatory. Flying to an altitude of 45,000 feet, SOFIA captures infrared images that ground telescopes can’t. Alex flew on one of SOFIA’s missions.

Shortly after receiving his master’s degree, Alex received a full-time job offer from NASA — he’d be working in the Aerostructures Branch on ways to improve how future planes are designed and constructed as both an analyst and test engineer. The skills and techniques he had learned as an engineering student at NC State were on full display.

Alex was in the sixth month of his new position when he passed away. His family and friends remember his passion for traveling, skiing and capturing life’s moments through photography. Today, his memory lives on through the lives he touched as an organ donor and the future lives he will impact through an endowed scholarship.

“Alex would definitely want something like this to help NC State students,” Chuck Stuber said. “I don’t think there’s any question.”