NDSU Student Receives Prestigious STEM Scholarship

Last Thursday NDSU senior Jacob Sundberg was presented with a certificate of achievement for receiving the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship in a ceremony at the NDSU Alumni Center. Sundberg is a mechanical engineering student who plans to pursue a masters degree in mechanical engineering at NDSU, with the goal of going into research and development. 

Sundberg found out that he had received the award for the 2023-2024 school year last May, in recognition of the research and development work that he has done for the engineering department throughout his time at NDSU. In an interview with NDSU Campus News, he mentioned that he has also benefited from professional networking opportunities and mentorship provided by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation along with the money he was awarded. 

The certificate was presented by Joe Tanner, who was formerly an astronaut working with NASA. He spoke about the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and its mission, and congratulated Sundberg for his achievement. Tanner has logged over one thousand hours in space, and since his retirement in 2008 he has worked as an aerospace professor at the University of Colorado. 

The Astronaut Scholarship is 15,000 dollars and is given out by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), a nonprofit that provides more than 60 scholarships a year to promising students in the STEM subjects. ASF was founded in 1986 by the astronauts of the Mercury 7, who put the money they earned from their speaking engagements towards furthering the field of science and research by raising up the next generation of researchers. 

Along with the money from the scholarship, recipients get to go on a paid trip to ASF’s Innovators Weekend, an event held around the country in August each year where the recipients of the Astronaut Scholarship present their research and the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence is given to an ASF alumni who has continued to exemplify achievement and impact in their research after graduating. Recipients also get lifelong access to a network of astronauts, ASF alumni, and professionals to help them to continue to grow and improve in their field for the rest of their careers. 

This year, 68 college students were awarded the Astronaut Scholarship. According to the ASF website, “Astronaut Scholars are among the best and brightest minds in STEM who show initiative, creativity, and excellence in their chosen field.” The scholarship is given to nominated juniors and seniors in college who are majoring in STEM subjects and plan to pursue research to further their field once they complete their degree or degrees.

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