Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts

Astronaut Scholar Spotlights

Astronaut Scholars are immersed in nearly every frontier of science, engineering, and technology as astronomers, biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers in practically every discipline, inventors, consultants, entrepreneurs who have started technology companies, professors at top institutions, and military officers.

In these positions they have launched payloads into space, studied distant galaxies through the Hubble Space Telescope, worked on the Mars Rover missions, trained astronauts, researched alternative energy devices, investigated integrated circuit manufacturing, developed more efficient equipment for firefighters, produced new ways to cultivate agriculture, developed noise control devices, researched the basis of congenital heart disease, mentored future scientists and engineers, and so much more!

Support these and future scholars.

Scholar Spotlight: Daniel Araya


Studying rocket science isn’t the only thing that concerns 2007-2008 Astronaut Scholar Daniel Araya; he is strongly dedicated to sharing the power of knowledge with younger generations. Juggling graduate school, space propulsion research, and his volunteer work teaching underprivileged children in Africa, the Texas A&M University student has quite a bit on his plate. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering in December of 2008, Araya, having lived in Texas all his life, decided it was time to venture out across the globe to experience the “real world.” Destination: a small village just outside of Arusha, Tanzania. Spending four …

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Scholar Spotlight: Scholars Give Back!


Fueled by their appreciation for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), the Astronaut Scholars have “given back” by donating their own personal funds to sponsor one full scholarship! Initiated by fellow ASF Board Member/Astronaut Scholar, Lisa Schott, the Astronaut Scholars “Give Back” program raised over $10,000 for the upcoming year. The scholar donations rolled in selflessly, including an anonymous $5,000 donation! The Scholars who donated to the cause include: Patrick Biltgen, Jessica Blomberg, Greg Book, Larry Bradley, Ryan East, Ashley Ewh, Debora Fairbrother, Simon Gharibian, Jayleen Guttromson, Christina Hammock, Joseph Han, John Hofferberth, Timothy Jackson, Trent Kingery, Tom Krizanosky, Joseph Kummer, …

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Scholar Spotlight: Jarret Lafleur


From researching Mars atmospheric entry trajectories, to developing new spacecraft technology, to jet-setting around the country presenting his work, 2005-2007 Astronaut Scholar Jarret Lafleur keeps his head above the clouds! As a Georgia Tech graduate student, Lafleur participated in a co-op at NASA’s Johnson Space Center over the summer analyzing options for entry into Mars’ atmosphere, and developing new methods for selecting trajectories for descent to the surface of the Moon or Mars. For the past year, Lafleur has been back at his alma mater contributing to an industry team led by Orbital Sciences on a project sponsored by the …

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Scholar Spotlight: Larry Bradley


Astronaut Scholar Larry Bradley of the Johns Hopkins University led an international team of astronomers credited for discovering the most distant galaxy ever observed. The galaxy dates to 13 billion years ago, when the Universe was just 700 million years old. Bradley and his colleagues uncovered the distant galaxy by pointing the Hubble Space Telescope at a nearby massive cluster of galaxies. The galaxy cluster, whose mass is about a thousand times that of the Milky Way, worked as a gravitational lens magnifying the light from the more distant galaxy behind it. The Hubble images provide the most detailed look …

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Scholar Spotlight: Derek Lang


As the world watches the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Astronaut Scholar Derek Lang can proudly sit back knowing that his project at the Stramler Group launched a satellite to broadcast direct satellite-to-mobile hand set television services during the games. Lang, a Senior Engineering Consultant with the aerospace consulting firm Stramler, provides in-factory monitoring for customers who are procuring communication satellites. Before working in his current job Lang held a position at TGV Rockets and helped complete preliminary vehicle design and analysis for a rocket that could be transported and operated within a few days of demand anywhere around …

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Scholar Spotlight: Trent Kingery


Astronaut Scholar Captain Trent Kingery was deployed in January 2006 for seven months to Al Asad, Iraq for his second combat tour with the United States Navy. During this deployment, he flew 354 combat hours and 113 combat sorties while providing “on-call” Close Air Support to ground forces. In June 2006, he surpassed the 1,000 FA-18 flight hour mark. Upon returning from his combat deployment in late August, Kingery accepted orders to become a member of the acquisition community at NAVAIR, Patuxent River, Maryland. Trent was assigned to the V-22 Program Office. He is currently pursuing Level I certification in …

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Scholar Spotlight: Theresa Kowalkowski


Astronaut Scholar, Theresa Kowalkowski, was recently named Lead of the Mission Design Chair for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Advanced Projects Design Team, or Team X. This concurrent engineering design team is responsible for evaluating mission concepts for JPL and non-JPL missions flying to the Moon, Mars and beyond. As an undergraduate, she gained experience through a NASA co-op program and moved on to the Mars Exploration Rover program after receiving her Master’s degree. Theresa received the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s award from 1998–2000 while at Purdue University.

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Scholar Spotlight: Jayleen Guttromson


Jayleen Guttromson, 2003–2005 Astronaut Scholar from Purdue University, is an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Deputy Subsystem Manager (SSM) at NASA Johnson Space Center providing technical interface between the contractor and other areas of NASA. In this position, she oversees EMU operations from build-up and processing to spacewalks and chamber or neutral buoyancy laboratory runs including repair and upgrading hardware to failure investigations. These topics involve integration of engineering and program management to sustain technical expertise for preparing and attending test readiness reviews, developing and reviewing technical paperwork, procedures, and presentations, including attending technical meetings. As an SSM, Jayleen also has …

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Scholar Spotlight: Karen Uffalussy


Karen Uffalussy, 2003–2004 Astronaut Scholar from North Carolina State University, was awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to lead a research group of chemical engineering undergraduates in Japan. For four months, she lived in Osaka, Japan and worked in Kaneda Sensei’s laboratory at Osaka University. In this laboratory, Mizugaki Sensei, guided her research work and helped her build on her knowledge of autoclave reactors and rhodium cluster synthesis. After intense work, they obtained impressive results. They determined that a dendrimer encapsulated rhodium carbonyl cluster process was more effective in turning this chemical into a much more useful and …

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Scholar Spotlight: Joseph Kummer


Astronaut Scholar Joseph Kummer’s dissertation work has focused on the feasibility of integrating a cross-flow fan into an airplane wing for propulsion and flow control. The cross-flow fan looks similar to a squirrel cage; and in his design, air is drawn into the fan from the top surface and expelled out at the trailing edge as a jet. It turns out that this configuration is virtually stall-free, allowing operation at extremely high angles of attack up to 40 degrees, and producing 3-4 times the lift of a conventional wing. It is also up to 30% more efficient in cruise, even …

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Scholar Spotlight: Christina Hammock


Christina Hammock, 2000–2002 Astronaut Scholar from North Carolina State University, is currently a Research Associate and Cryogenics Technician for Raytheon Polar Services Company, living and working at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Her position there will last one year, encompassing a busy summer season of preparation, and a longer isolated winter of supporting science experiments. Unique aspects of living in the South Pole include the endless showering of auroras, a single sunrise and sunset to mark the year’s passage and a sky of abundant with stars. Christina reflects that perhaps the same kinds of celestial marvels also inspired …

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Scholar Spotlight: Emily Eelkema


Emily Eelkema, 1998–1999 Astronaut Scholar from the University of Minnesota, has recently been promoted to Mission Manager for the Mars Exploration Project. She will be one of three mission managers in charge of running the twin rovers. “The mission manager oversees the daily planning process,” says Eelkema. “They also monitor overall spacecraft health.” Eelkema has been at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 5 years. She joined the MER project just before they landed on Mars last year.

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