Soaring to new heights; students can apply for astronaut award

By Whittney Allen

UK is one of the institutions from which the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation will accept student applications for a $10,000 award.

“Our university has excellent programs in STEM fields at both undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Lisa Broome-Price, UK’s campus liasion to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, “and our top student researchers have tremendous potential for continued excellence throughout their STEM-oriented careers.”

Eligible candidates must be rising juniors or seniors at UK who are U.S. citizens who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines.

UK is directly connected to the history of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation through Story Musgrave, a celebrated shuttle astronaut who studied at the university.

Musgrave, who was a member of the first shuttle flight of the Challenger in April 1983, served as a surgical intern at the UK Medical Center from 1964-1965. He then served as the Air Force post-doctoral fellow from 1965-1966.

“The best part about being an Astronaut Scholar is the opportunities it will make for in the future,” former scholarship recipient Brady Doepke said. “Being recognized as an Astronaut Scholar can help a student pursuing graduate school get better fellowships, or for those going into the work force, (to) be chosen for better positions.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the U.S. would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting promising students in science and engineering.

Doepke, who received the scholarship in September 2010, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and is now pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

“The scholarship is an incredible opportunity to shape your self-direction and compete with your peers,” electrical engineering graduate and scholarship recipient Sam Nicaise said. “Every success and failure is a stepping stone, and by applying for the scholarship every student has the opportunity to grow.”