As an alumnus now working in the aerospace industry—at a company whose products have visited every planet in the solar system—my WAS experience was instrumental in my success as a young engineer. From the networking opportunities and connections made during the residency, to the continued interest in the students after completion of the program, WAS and its reputation with local companies serves to open doors for aspiring engineers and scientists.
-- Nic Gaudio, 2008 Alumnus
Associate Propulsion Engineer, Aerojet Rocketdyne
Over the past eight years, more than 1,100 students have participated in the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) summer residency. These students represent 238 diverse public and private schools in 130 public school districts and all 49 Washington state legislative districts. After graduation from high school, more than 88 percent of WAS alumni have reported their college plans and 83 percent are pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Alumni also report that they have participated in a variety of internships and are now starting careers at major STEM-focused companies and organizations.
Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is a two-part program for high school juniors focused on STEM topics. Phase one is a rigorous, five-month online course designed by NASA and the University of Washington, which provides students the opportunity to earn five college credits while learning about the history of NASA, the space environment around earth and the future of human space exploration. Top-scoring phase one students are invited to participate in a six-day summer residency held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
Students who qualify for the summer residency get an exclusive inside look at the aerospace industry in the state of Washington through behind-the-scenes aerospace company tours, STEM expert presentations and the opportunity to network informally with STEM professionals.
Summer residency participants also connect with like-minded peers from across the state and participate in museum tours, team-building activities and hands-on engineering challenges, such as design, construction and deployment of robotic rovers, model rockets, lander devices and payload lofting systems. Students learn the fundamentals of space propulsion and collaborate in teams to plan a manned mission to Mars.
After completing the summer residency, students also become members of an exclusive alumni network and are informed of special scholarship and internship opportunities.
Certified math and science teachers in Washington are invited to participate along with their students by taking on the phase one online academic evaluator and phase two summer residency facilitator roles.
Washington Aerospace Scholars Foundation
University of Washington
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.