Camella Carlson ’20 and Oscar Gonzalez ’20 Awarded the 2019 Astronaut Foundation Scholarship

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) seeks to support the brightest scholars in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. The ASF has supported undergraduate students across the nation in pursuing their education for more than 30 years. The Astronaut Scholarship is one of the most significant merit-based scholarships in STEM fields that can be awarded to an undergraduate. Students must be nominated by faculty based on achievements in their chosen field. Out of a pool of 42 Universities, ASF typically chooses one recipient from each school. However, Texas A&M undergraduate students have proved themselves to be incredibly strong candidates and ASF has awarded multiple of our students in the past.

Texas A&M University has had 32 honorees since the scholarship was established in 1984 by the surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. More than 100 astronauts have contributed to the cause, resulting in over $4 million in scholarships.

LAUNCH: National Fellowships congratulates the two awardees of the 2019 Astronaut Scholarship:

Astronaut Scholar Camella Carlson ‘20

Camella Carlson is a junior biomedical engineering honors student from Olathe, Kansas. Ms. Carlson is currently working under Dr. Kristen Maitland to develop an optical tissue phantom of the lung to optimize a system for the optical detection of tuberculosis. Ms. Carlson also worked at the summer Harvard-MIT Heath Science & Technology program where she designed a new device for image-guided gastrointestinal microbiota sampling. Ms. Carlson is involved with the American Medical Student Association, as well as Biomedical Engineering Ambassadors Program and the Society for Optics and Photonics. In the future Ms. Carlson hopes to pursue either a Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in order to “combine basic science discoveries with problems dictated by physicians and patients to radically improve the speed, accuracy, and simplicity of diagnoses and treatments.”

Astronaut Scholar Oscar Gonzalez ‘20

Oscar Gonzalez is a junior chemistry major with minors in physics and mathematics from San Juan, Texas. Mr. Gonzales works on two projects in Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee’s lab to develop materials that will allow for increased computer efficiency. He synthesizes hematite films for photoelectrochemical water splitting and creates ways to push the deposition process towards higher film quality and higher water splitting efficiency. When asked how these research experiences have shaped him, Mr. Gonzalez said that “Working on these projects has helped me become the scientist I want to become. In addition, I want to share and use everything I have learned with the rest of the world.” As part of this spirit of sharing scientific discovery, Mr. Gonzalez is an Undergraduate Research Ambassador where he works to facilitate research opportunities for undergraduate students. He is also a member of The Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas (AURA Texas) and a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient.

Carlson and Gonzalez will be honored at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award Ceremony on October 16, 2019 at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Astronaut Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visit

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