Nine Mile Falls Student Participating in Phase One of the Washington Aerospace Scholars Program at The Museum of Flight
Washington Aerospace Scholars Program provides opportunities for high school students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math
(SEATTLE, January 23, 2012) Now in its sixth year, The Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is pleased to announce that Cassidy Coit of Lakeside has been accepted into Phase One of the 2011-12 program. Selected from 297 students from 110 different public, private and home-school organizations who applied to participate in WAS in November 2011, Ms. Coit, will spend the next five months competing academically for one of the 160 slots in a Summer Residency session held at The Museum of Flight in June and July of 2012. To qualify for the Summer Residency, students must satisfactorily complete ten online lessons, consisting of research essays, space-related math problems, and detailed graphics that illustrate their ideas.
The WAS program is a free, competitive, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program for high school juniors from across Washington State and is affiliated with NASA Johnson Space Center’s National High School Aerospace Scholars program with partner programs in Texas, Virginia and Idaho. Its primary goal is to excite and prepare students to pursue career pathways in STEM fields using a NASA-designed, distance-learning curriculum which covers topics such as the history of human spaceflight and the future human exploration of Mars. Since 2006, over 1,400 juniors, representing every Washington State legislative district, have participated in the online distance learning curriculum offered by WAS and over 700 have completed a six-day Summer Residency held at The Museum of Flight.
Five-time shuttle astronaut and WAS Foundation Board member, Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, reflected that WAS students “…are the generation who will solve the challenges of the present and create future dreams.”
The program is designed to address the fact that although employment in Washington State private sector technology industries has quadrupled since 1974 Washington State ranks last among tech states in science and engineering graduate program participation. If she moves on to the summer residency experience, Cassidy will collaborate with other student participants on the design of a human mission to Mars guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators. The WAS program is designed to inspire students to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) but participants also learn to develop their writing, resume building, interviewing and presentation skills along with an understanding of mission and budget management and the legal aspects of space exploration.
There is no cost to students to participate in the WAS program thanks to the continuing support from Governor Chris Gregoire, The Boeing Company, The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, The GenCorp Foundation, BAE Systems and many individual donors. The Museum of Flight partners with WAS to host both the program administration and the Summer Residency sessions.
Since the program launched in 2006, students from 299 different public, private, and home school organizations in 151 public school districts have participated in the WAS program. Our Summer Residency alumni association tracks scholars after they graduate high school, and we are excited that over 78% of our reporting alumni have told us that they are pursuing a college degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field. WAS alumni are attending some of the top engineering colleges and universities across the U.S. and participating in a variety of amazing internships including opportunities with NASA involving Robonaut and the Mars Science Laboratory, The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, The Boeing Company, The Environmental Protection Agency, and The Museum of Flight. Members of our first alumni class of 2007 are currently seniors in college, and we look forward to hearing from them as they make their way into the workforce.
Washington Aerospace Scholars applications for the 2012-2013 program cycle will be available late summer 2012 at www.museumofflight.org/was. WAS participants must be high school juniors, United States citizens and Washington State residents with a 3.0 minimum grade-point-average.