Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Created By The Mercury 7 Astronauts

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 months in humbling conditions, Araya taught both English and Physics to over one hundred children.

“I’ll never forget the day when I brought pictures to class of the Apollo missions and quickly realized that none of my students knew that we had landed on the moon!” Araya said of his experience. “It was refreshing to learn from a different perspective and to share some of what I know through teaching.”

Araya is currently working on his master’s degree at Texas A&M and investigating a phenomenon of magnetic nozzles called plasma detachment. After obtaining his PhD, Araya plans to work full-time for NASA.