Thursday, September 10, 2009

Camas Student Graduates from Washington Aerospace Scholars Program

The Washington Aerospace Scholars program is pleased to announce that Stuart Jergensen is a graduate of the 2009 WAS Summer Residency at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is a competitive educational program for high school juniors from across Washington State.

Stuart Jergensen was among the 150 students who qualified for the Washington Aerospace Scholars Summer Residency program from 260 students who applied in November. To qualify for the residency program, Stuart of Camas High School spent six months studying a NASA-designed, distance-learning curriculum via the Internet. Based on his academic performance on the distance-learning lessons, he was selected to attend one of the four residencies hosted at The Museum of Flight in Seattle this summer. During the residency experience, he collaborated with the other student participants on the design of a human mission to Mars. WAS scholars are guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators as they plan these missions. The WAS program is designed to inspire students to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) but the students are divided into teams which also require them to learn about mission management, budgets, the legal aspects of space exploration, and medicine.

In addition to the design of the human mission to Mars, he and the other WAS scholars also participated in a number of hands-on engineering challenges. These challenges included design, construction and deployment of robotic rovers, model rockets, lander devices, and payload lofting systems. Summer residency participants also received briefings from experts in the fields of engineering, science, physics, medicine, project management, risk management, and space exploration. They also visited Everett, WA, for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Boeing Commercial Airplane assembly plant, (including the new 787) and toured engineering laboratories at the University of Washington. As a graduate of WAS, Stuart joins over 380 alumni, representing 170 different Washington high schools.

All expenses (including travel, meals and lodging) are provided to students free of charge by the Washington Aerospace Scholars Foundation. The program has been supported through generous grants from The Apex Foundation, The Aldarra Foundation, The Boeing Company, Microsoft, Battelle and individual donors. The Museum of Flight hosts both the program administration and the summer residency sessions. Additional partners include NASA Johnson Space Center for curriculum development, the Washington State Governor’s Office, Washington State Legislators, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.