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 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/)
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.
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.
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!
Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) has nominated nine students for National Fellowships including the George C. Marshall Scholarship, the George Mitchell Scholarship, and the American Rhodes Scholarship!
The Marshall Scholarship finances up to 40 young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in any field of study in the United Kingdom. The selected scholars’ direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs contributes to their ultimate personal success.
The Mitchell Scholarship is a nationally competitive award sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. It was named in honor of former U.S. Senator Mitchell’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and designed to introduce upcoming future American leaders to Ireland, while fostering scholarship, leadership, and community commitment.
The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international fellowship awards around the world. 32 young Americans are selected each year as Rhodes Scholars from 300 American colleges and universities. These scholars are chosen for outstanding scholarly achievements along with character, commitment to others, and for their potential leadership in their career aspirations. The Rhodes Trust, honoring Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
HUR’s 2013 nominees for these prestigious fellowships include:
Chris Akers, a physics student pursuing minor degrees in both math and philosophy, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces at the Imperial College London or Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Akers is the co-founder and Vice President of the revamped Society of Physics Students at Texas A&M in which he invented Physics Phamilies groups and transformed the leadership structure. He was a Fish Camp Co-chairperson from November 2012 to September 2013, and he assists Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova in her presentations of her famous physics show to children in grade school. Akers has also made three research symposium presentations including his work “Assembly Database for the VIRUS Project” at the TAMU Astronomy Symposium. He is a President’s Endowed Scholar at Texas A&M and was awarded the “Mechanics Scholar” title for his excellent score on Texas A&M’s Mechanics Scholar test. Akers is a runner, plays chess, and trains in Crossfit.
Dillon Amaya, a meteorology student pursuing a minor degree in oceanography, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton or Polar Studies at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. An advocate for exercise, Amaya is a member of the Texas A&M Club Racquetball Team and several intramural teams. He is heavily involved with the College of Geosciences Undergraduate Recruitment Team and has given tours to high school seniors interested in the program for the past three years. Amaya was also the Vice President of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorology Society. He aspires to be a professor of climate sciences or physical oceanography at a Tier 1 research university in either the US or the UK.
Shelby Bieritz, a biomedical engineering student pursuing a minor degree in mathematics, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Biomedical Engineering at Aston University or Biomedical Research at University College of London. Bieritz has widely spread interests, from engineering to musical performance. She was a member of MSC Town Hall at Texas A&M where she served as the Advertising Executive for the 2011-2012 academic year. Bieritz also organized a regional conference for the National Association of Engineering Student Councils while she was a member of the Texas A&M University Student Engineers’ Council. In the future, the senior hopes to complete a PhD in biomedical engineering with a focus on total artificial heart development in order to create a pediatric heart that can be specialized to a child’s needs and conditions. To accomplish this, Bieritz hopes to manage a laboratory and adapt a heart pump to a variety of congenital heart conditions.
Emily Boster, an aerospace engineering student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Engineering Design at the University of Bath or Aerospace Engineering and Management at the University of Glasglow, along with her nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Boster interned at Lockheed Martin Space Systems for 12 weeks in summer 2013 and at Space X for 10 weeks in summer 2010. She also works in Texas A&M University’s Astronomical Instrumentation lab. Boster enjoys playing guitar and composing her own music and lyrics, and she recently started playing along with her church’s band in College Station. Throughout her high school and undergraduate education, Boster was awarded with the Astronaut Scholarship, the AIAA Foundation Scholarship, the President’s Endowed Scholarship, and the Aggieland Bound Scholarship. For the past year, the senior also started fostering retired racing greyhounds and has been working on extending the reach of this Austin-based organization to the Bryan/College Station area.
Daniel Miller, an electrical and computer engineering (ECEN) and applied mathematics (APMS) double major, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Advanced Computer Science at the University of Cambridge or Machine Learning at the University College of London. Miller holds a perfect 4.0 GPA at Texas A&M University and has done programming work for both Lincoln Laboratory and Silicon Laboratory. As an Undergraduate Research Scholar, Miller created an energy model for residential solar water heated in which he designed and implemented a data logging and system control board. He is continuing to work on implementing statistical forecasting and predictive control methods to his model. Miller also intends to build a plasma speaker, a Gauss gun and an automated laser flyswatter in his free time. The engineer has been a swimmer since age five and has recently picked up hobbies in running, hiking, and rock climbing. In the future, Miller intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Machine Learning and a Doctorate focusing on renewable energy systems. His overall goal is to improve the global environment, and to address the issues caused by an increasing energy demand.
Stephen O’Shea, an English student with a focus in creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study creative writing at either City University of Kingston University, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship. O’Shea has worked as a writing consultant with the Texas A&M University Writing Center. He also presented a research project on creative writers in the Writing Center at a conference in Corpus Christi and implemented a university-wide Creative Writing Workshop that began in spring 2013. O’Shea’s work has been published by both “Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal” and “The Eckleburg Project: the Literary Magazine of Texas A&M University.” The creative writing student was selected as an executive for Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow (A LOT) during his sophomore year. He participated in the Texas A&M Jazz Band as Lead Tenor Saxophone and played alto saxophone at Aggie home basketball games with the Hullabaloo Band. O’Shea hopes to be an author of research-based fiction, first by completing and publishing his “From the Land of Genesis” collection, and later he hopes to become a professor.
Andy Sanchez, a chemical engineering student pursuing minor degrees in chemistry and creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to obtain either a Masters in Advanced Chemical Engineering or a Masters in Catalysis at the Imperial College of London, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Sanchez is a screener and editor for the Callaloo Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. He has also worked as a Catalyst Developer with ExxonMobil Process Research doing supplemental projects in catalyst synthesis and modeling. Sanchez is the Corporate Relations Chair of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), an organization which seeks to increase engineering awareness and promote professional development of students. He is also a member of the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors Fraternity, and he acted as a Sophomore Honors Advisor. The chemical engineering student has been recognized as a University Scholar, a 2013 Craig Brown Outstanding Senior English Engineer, and an American Chemical Society Scholar. In the future, he plans to pursue research with a focus in petrochemical catalysis, and to ultimately rise to a technical management position to coordinate this research.
Kindall Stephens, an environmental design student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study Architecture at either the Architectural Association or London Metropolitan University. Stephens worked for LaMarr Womack & Associates Architects as an architectural intern in summer 2013 and has attended four national conferences for the American Institute of Architecture Students. Stephens was a Fish Camp counselor at Texas A&M University, and she has served as Career Fair Coordinator and President for the university’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students for the past two years. She is an active member of Habitat for Humanity at Texas A&M and is on the founding committee for a new campus wide service organization called BUILD. She was a member of the Best Overall Team at Design Workshop’s Design Week, a National Winner of AIAS and SAGEW Foundation Renewing Home Student Design Competition, and AIA Brazos Scholarship Recipient. In the future, the architecture student plans to obtain her architectural license and to work as both an architect and a professor.
Philip “Dane” Warren, an economics student pursuing a minor in art & architecture history, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either International Public Policy at the University College of London or Global Environment, Politics, and Society at the University of Edinburgh, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Warren has worked for Camp Invention during most summers, but spent this past summer interning with Clean Water Action. Warren was also a Teaching Assistant for the course Energy, Resources, and their Use and Importance to Society. Next semester he will be a Section Instructor, teaching students about the energy industry and writing skills. Warrens work with partner Mariah Lord “Cap and Trade and Global Compromise” was published in Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal. He is currently working on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of residential water utility pricing programs and is the Chair of the Aggie Green Fund Advisory Committee. He is also a Team Leader in Texas A&M’s The Big Event, a student-led volunteering project. Warren presented his research at an academic conference in Hiroshima, Japan and has been recognized as a Texas A&M University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar.
HUR would like to congratulate all of these outstanding nominees and wish them luck in the selection process for the Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships! We are so proud of your hard work!
Texas A&M University senior, Emily Boster, has been named as a 2012 recipient of a $10,000 national award by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). This award is given to 28 of the brightest and most promising students across the country with interests in science or engineering.
Boster has been recognized based on her outstanding achievements. She has worked at the Astronomical Instrumentation Laboratory in Texas A&M’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, which has a larger role in developing and assembling tools such as VIRUS, an instrument which will be used by astronomers to understand dark energy, and components of the Giant Magellan Telescope, the world’s largest optical telescope. Recently, she has developed her own research project on flying vehicles and will be participating in a research exchange program this summer at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur.
Undergraduate research has played a major role in Boster’s educational and career path. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t become involved with research as a freshman at A&M. I switched to Aerospace Engineering only after being exposed to engineering and physics at TAMU’s Astronomical Instrumentation Lab,” she said.
Boster’s experience in Undergraduate Research through her work with Dr. Raktim Bhattacharya, Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, has helped solidify her interest in designing flying vehicles.
The goal of her project is to design a new type of flying machine that is configurable to meet various heavy lifting applications for civilian purposes. “The applications for such machines are limitless, ranging from disaster relief to parcel delivery to reconnaissance. We hope to develop the first prototype and we eventually hope to patent the design,” wrote Boster in her essay to the ASF.
She credits undergraduate research with opportunities she never thought were possible. “My experiences in research have been the most important part of my education so far. They have helped me discover what I enjoy and what possibilities exist for my future,” Boster said.
The ASF scholarship opens many doors for its students, not only financially but also through its organization of industry-leading professionals and students. “Other than the financial aspect, I am looking forward to being part of a network of the unique and innovative individuals that are part of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. I know I will be inspired by the people who I will come in contact with through ASF,” said Boster
Boster plans to graduate in fall 2013 and hopes to continue her studies by pursuing a graduate degree sometime in the future. While Boster has not solidified her educational plans yet, she knows she would like to gain industry experience. As for this fall, she plans to continue work in the Astronomical Instrumentation Laboratory and research on her autonomous vehicle. Her future goals include creating “greener” technology for the planet, traveling to other countries to unite efforts in aerospace research, and the development of programs across Texas, especially in South Texas, to ignite a passion in students for engineering and sciences.