Washington Aerospace Scholars is a program that provides advanced learning opportunities in the fields of science and technology to high school students. There were 160 applicants accepted into the WAS 2013 summer residency at the Museum of Flight, including Bonney Lake resident Chris Young.
The application process began in September, when the program was recommended to Young by his previous science teacher. Young was accepted into the initial phase of the program, which involved a five month online course designed by NASA and the University of Washington. It wasn’t easy, said Young, but based on academic merit observed during the course, he was invited to participate in the summer residency.
“I was pretty nervous at first — I wasn’t sure what it would be like,” he said. “The online class ended up being pretty difficult but I completed it and I’m really happy I got in.”
Besides bragging rights, Young’s participation earned him five credits at the University of Washington in Space and Travel, ESS 102.
During the summer program, WAS scholars will be guided by a variety of professionals including scientists, engineers, teachers and college students. The residency will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) but the students are also provided learning opportunities in mission management, budgeting, space exploration legal details and medicine.
Young will participate in several hands-on challenges including the design and construction of rovers, rockets, landers and a mission to Mars. Another aspect of the program involves touring the Boeing Commercial Airplane assembly plant in Everett, Aerojet’s Redmond facility and the University of Washington engineering labs. Participants will also receive educational seminars from field experts such as retired NASA astronaut, Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar.
The students will receive free room and board, courtesy of the Washington Aerospace Scholars Foundation. Other supporters include: individual donors, The Apex Foundation, The Aldarra Foundation, The Boeing Company, Microsoft, Battelle, Washington Space Grant Consortium, NASA Johnson Space Center for curriculum development, Washington State Legislators and the Washington State Governor’s Office. The Museum of Flight hosts the program and provides administrative support as well.
Young has lived in Bonney Lake most of his life and attends Charles Wright Academy. His top-choice college is MIT but the University of Washington is a close second. He enjoys archery and behind-the-scenes theater production, but those are just hobbies he said. Young hopes he will find himself working at NASA in the future.