It was an exciting day as SpaceX launched four NASA astronauts into space for an historic mission to the International Space Station tonight! An astronaut is a select group of fearless, specially-trained scientists -- a dream of many children. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation recognizes those children whose dreams become reality!
According to its website, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) annually recognizes 50 to the “brightest and most talented college students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” ASF was founded in 1984 by six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts including John Glenn and Alan Shepard with a mission of ensuring the United States would be set up as the global leader in technology “for decades to come.”
ASF’s vision “seeks to inspire, encourage, and facilitate Astronaut Scholars to embody the highly respected astronaut characteristics, such as intelligence, ambition, self-motivation, high ethical standards, persistence, tenacity, adaptability, and a passion for science, exploration, and innovation. This focus will aid in placing the best American scholars in positions that will positively change and influence society.”
Being awarded the Astronaut Scholarship is considered very prestigious and is “known nationwide for being among the largest merit-based monetary scholarships awarded to undergraduate STEM juniors and seniors.” A great benefit to being accepted into ASF is that the foundation has a life-long relationship commitment to each Astronaut Scholar “...and provides them with mentors, professional and personal development and networking with astronauts, C-suite level executives and industry leaders to help advance their careers.”
In order to qualify for consideration, full-time students must be nominated by a faculty member at an ASF-affiliated university or institution, be a US citizen, and be seeking a STEM degree with intentions to pursue a career/advance research in the field. Students who are seeking medical degrees are not eligible for ASF, however, students who intend to pursue careers in biomedical research may apply.
There are currently over 600 astronauts in the foundation spread across 41 universities.
Did you watch the SpaceX/NASA launch tonight? Did you once dream of becoming an astronaut? Let us know in the comments!