Redmond students selected to participate in WAS program

Three students from Redmond are participating in Phase One of the 2013-14 Washington Aerospace Scholars program cycle. - Courtesy Photo
Three students from Redmond are participating in Phase One of the 2013-14 Washington Aerospace Scholars program cycle.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Now in its eighth year, the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program has announced that the following students from Redmond are participating in Phase One of the 2013-14 program cycle: Thomas Kern and Srihari Mohan from The Overlake School and Clark Schaefer from Nikola Tesla STEM High School.

The WAS program, hosted at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, is a competitive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program for high school juniors from across Washington and is an affiliate of NASA Johnson Space Center's National High School Aerospace Scholars program. A partnership with the University of Washington (UW) also gives WAS Phase One participants the option to receive five UW credits in Space and Space Travel (ESS 102) for their successful completion of the online Phase One curriculum. These credits satisfy the Natural World area of knowledge requirement for graduation from the UW.

The students listed above applied in fall of 2013, along with 308 student applicants from 112 different public, private and home-school organizations, to participate in Phase One of WAS. They are now among the  214 students still participating and have already completed seven online lessons. They will spend the next two months continuing to compete for one of the 160 slots available in a summer residency session held at The Museum of Flight this June and July. To qualify for the summer residency, students must satisfactorily complete 10 online lessons, consisting of research essays, space-related math problems and detailed graphics that illustrate their ideas. If these students move on to the summer residency experience, they 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.

Founded in 2006 by five-time NASA shuttle astronaut Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, the WAS program's primary goal is to excite and prepare students to pursue careers pathways in STEM fields. By using a distance-learning curriculum, designed in partnership with NASA and the UW, 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, more than 2,000 juniors, representing every 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 more than 70 percent of WAS alumni are pursuing a college degree in a STEM 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.

WAS applications for the 2014-15 program cycle will be available late summer 2014 at

WAS participants must be high school juniors, United States citizens and Washington residents with a 3.0 minimum grade-point-average.

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