Terrace junior completes first phase of state Aerospace Scholars program

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Washington Aerospace Scholars qualifiers
Washington Aerospace Scholars qualifiers

Mountlake Terrace High School junior Collin Rhodes is one of 214 students from around the state who has completed Phase One of the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program and will now compete for one of 160 slots in the Summer Residency session of the program set for this June and July at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The WAS program is a competitive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program affiliated with the NASA Johnson Space Center’s National High School Aerospace Scholars program.

Rhodes applied for the WAS program last fall and has now completed seven online lessons to move on to the next phase of the competition. To grab a spot in the summer residency component of the program, Rhodes will have to satisfactorily complete an additional ten online lessons consisting of research essays, space-related math problems and detailed graphics that illustrate their ideas.

Students who qualify for the summer residency experience will collaborate on the design of a human mission to Mars guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators.

By completing Phase One of the WAS program, Rhodes is now eligible to receive five University of Washington credits in Space and Space Travel (ESS 102), satisfying the Natural World area of knowledge requirement for graduation from the university.

Founded in 2006 by five-time NASA shuttle astronaut Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, the WAS program’s primary goal is to excite and prepare student to pursue careers pathways in STEM fields. By using a distance-learning curriculum, designed in partnership with NASA and the University of Washington, WAS gives students the opportunity to explore topics such as the history of human spaceflight and the impacts of space weather on future human exploration of the universe.

Since 2006, over 2000 juniors, representing every Washington state legislative district, have participated in the online distance learning curriculum offered by WAS and more than 1,000 have been invited to complete a six-day Summer Residency held at The Museum of Flight. The WAS Summer Residency alumni association tracks scholars after they graduate high school and over 70% of WAS alumni are pursuing a college degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field.

The WAS program is possible with support from The Museum of Flight, The Boeing Company, The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, The GenCorp Foundation, and many individual donors.

Washington Aerospace Scholars applications for the 2014-15 program cycle will be available late summer 2014 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.

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