Our Astronaut Scholars are Out of this World!

By Hayley Cox

Last Monday, October 28th, space shuttle astronaut and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana presented students Dillon Amaya and Amanda Couch with the 2013 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) scholarship during a ceremony at Texas A&M University. Our 2012 ASP scholarship recipient and member of the Class of 2013 Emily Boster was in the audience for the presentation.

Emily Boster - Class of 2013
Emily Boster – Class of 2013
Emily Boster has come full circle in the year since she was selected. Boster was notified of her selection in summer 2012, and Captain James Lovell of Apollo 13 presented her with the Astronaut Scholarship in September 2012.

As Captain Lovell announced last year: “Today, in accordance with its mission to aid the United States in retaining its leadership in science and technology, ASF makes 28 Astronaut Scholarships available to college students who exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These $10,000 scholarships are the highest monetary awards disbursed to undergraduate STEM students based solely on merit in the U.S. To date, the foundation has awarded over $3.7 million in scholarships to deserving students nationwide.” (http://astronautscholarship.org/about/)

2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
Fortunately for Boster, the experience with ASF didn’t end with the presentation last September. Boster was invited to attend a conference at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa Beach that enables all current and previous ASF scholarship recipients to network among each other. The aerospace engineering student said, “The convention really feels like a big family reunion.” She was present for the Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and loved staying at a hotel with other brilliant ASF scholars and astronauts. Former ASF recipients such as 1980s scholar, Lisa Schott, continue to attend the conference every year.

Boster's group at the Astronaut Scholars Conference
Boster’s group at the Astronaut Scholars Conference
At the four-day conference, around 40 scholars from across America presented research from a wide array of majors including chemistry, geography, physics and aerospace engineering.

Boster became interested in this field during her first encounters with the Astronomic Instrumentation Lab on the Texas A&M University campus, where she has been working on a project called VIRUS since her freshman year of her undergraduate career. Approximately 15 students and professors are working on VIRUS, a project in collaboration with schools such as The University of Texas, Penn State, Oxford, and many others around the world. Lab Manager Dr. Jennifer Marshall hired Boster during her freshman year and has acted as her mentor ever since.

Astronaut Scholars Conference
Astronaut Scholars Conference
Boster is now officially an alumnus of the ASF, and she plans to attend the conference every year if possible. “The conference is such a great opportunity” she said, “I want to stay involved, give back in funds, and help the next generation of scholars.”

The aerospace engineering student is currently a nominee for both the Marshall Scholarship and the Mitchell Scholarship, two national fellowships which will proceed to interviews during the month of November.

Boster interned with the Mars lander at Lockheed Martin in summer 2013, and plans to pursue a career in aerospace engineering when she graduates in December. She has a passion for international collaboration and plans to travel in order to further collaborative relationships between different countries in order to unify their uses of aerospace engineering.

Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) would like to congratulate Emily Boster on the 2012 ASF scholarship and wish her the best after her graduation in December. We are so proud of our students’ hard work. It definitely pays off!

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