WAS is designed to connect high-school juniors with educational and career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through independent learning, hands-on interaction, professional guidance and site-based tours. The program focuses on topics related to the history and future exploration of space by NASA as well as topics in Earth and space science. The Washington Aerospace Scholars gives high school juniors a chance to earn UW college credits—giving them an academic edge when applying for colleges. The experience also exposes them to the opportunity to work face-to-face with professional engineers, NASA scientists, university students and educators.
Beyond education, this program helps students build their confidence, maturity and independence while having fun learning about the universe in which we live, meeting other students with similar interests and challenging themselves to design realistic future space missions.
Nguyen was among the 200 students who began competing for a spot in one of the WAS Summer Residency sessions by completing 10 NASA and University of Washington designed lessons – Phase One of the WAS program. Students were able to register to earn five UW credits based on successful completion of the curriculum.
Phase Two is a six-day experience at The Museum of Flight in Seattle during three sessions throughout June and July. In each session, four student teams cooperate to plan a human mission to Mars with support from professional engineers/scientists, university students and certificated educators. Additionally, participants receive briefings from aerospace professionals, tour engineering facilities and compete in hands-on engineering challenges.