Astronaut Scholarship Foundation offers opportunity to student scientists

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Representatives from the three participating colleges signed the agreement on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014.

30 years ago, the Mercury 7 astronauts joined together to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors. Their idea of keeping America on the leading edge of technology led them to form the Mercury 7 Foundation, which later became the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF).

UCF is one of the first five universities to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ASF. The agreement outlines that every year, for five years, two scholarships will be committed to students. Within UCF, the Burnett Honors College, College of Engineering & Computer Sciences and the College of Sciences are partnering with the ASF.

The recipient receives a $10,000 scholarship that is annually renewable. Once selected for the scholarship, students get to interact with astronauts and they work with them as mentors.

The Astronaut Scholarship is known across the nation for being one of the highest scholarships awarded to undergraduate STEM students. From its beginning, ASF has awarded over $4 million in scholarships to over 370 of the nation’s top scholars.

Within the last year, 22 scholarships were awarded throughout the nation, adding up to $220,000.

According to the ASF website, candidates must be nominated by their university professors. They “must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”

Majoring in Electrical Engineering, UCF student Whitney Keith, majoring in Electrical Engineering, received the scholarship in 2010 and 2011. More recently, Mechanical Engineering major Richard Murdock received his scholarship for 2013 and 2014.

Murdock is currently researching the use of using viruses as a basic building block for a colorimetric litmus for BPA, which is a substance used in the production of epoxies and plastics.

“The astronaut Scholarship Foundation has opened doors through connections in ways I could not have imagined a few years ago,” Murdock said on a foundation flyer. “Being supported financially through school with the scholarship and having the opportunity to meet leaders in the STEM fields have been invaluable experiences for me, enabling me to reach my full potential as a scientist-in-training.”

Comments are closed.