Fellowships

Astronaut Scholarship

Is it for you?

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was established in 1984 by the astronauts of NASA’s Mercury 7 mission to support the education of future leaders in the fields of science and technology. Current sophomores and juniors with exceptional motivation, creativity, and performance in STEM fields are eligible. The award is for $10,000 for one year with the potential for renewal (up to two years) if progress and grades are satisfactory. Winners attend an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Innovators Weekend in the fall and join a life-long network of Scholarship alumni, astronauts, and Foundation supporters. 

What are the key dates?

Pre-app form due: TBD for 2020, typically late January
Campus deadline: TBD for 2020, typically late February

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Astronaut Scholarship must:

  • be U.S. citizens at the time of application.
  • be outstanding students who exhibit motivation, demonstrated potential, and exceptional creativity in a field of the natural or applied sciences, mathematics, or engineering (see official website for a full list of eligible fields of study).
  • have considerable research experience in their specific field.
  • intend to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degrees. Students pursuing a practice in professional medicine are not eligible for the scholarship; however, those intending to perform biomedical research are eligible.
  • have completed two years of full-time study at the nominating institution by the end of the academic year during which they are applying.
  • be juniors or seniors at the beginning of the next academic year.
  • plan to be enrolled as full-time students during both semesters of ASF-funding at the nominating institution.

How do you work with the NFP?

Students may not apply directly for an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award. JHU nomination is required through a campus selection process (JHU may nominate up to two candidates). 

Faculty members may contact Dr. Barry directly to initiate a nomination, or students may contact Dr. Barry to inquire about the nomination process. Astronaut applicants work closely with us for the duration of the application process.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process. Your first step is to complete a Word Document: pre-app form and meet one-on-one with Dr. Barry. In preparation, have a closer look below for more resources to learn about the Astronaut Scholarship.

late January Pre-application due to Dr. Barry
February Respond to nomination request (if initiated by faculty) or seek out faculty to complete nomination request
late February Submit application materials to Dr. Barry

Are you competitive?

The award is made primarily on the basis of merit, though financial need may be considered. A competitive applicant has an unusually strong research record and demonstrates intellectual daring — initiative and creativity that has been noticed by a faculty member and/or research mentor. (NB: Special consideration is not given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts.)

In the campus selection process, as in the ASF selection process, emphasis is placed upon an applicant’s demonstrated potential or ability, as well as drive to do research and develop new ideas, inventions, and technology.

Applicants seeking a nomination must complete the following materials:

  • Personal Statement: Students must compose and submit a short statement of personal interests, activities, hobbies, and goals (not to exceed one page, 12-point font). The narrative letter supporting the nomination form should give examples of the involvement and commitment of the student to their studies beyond the formal classroom setting as shown on the transcript. Research accomplishments and creativity should be highlighted.
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé (max 2 pages).
  • Financial summary form: This form is to be completed by the nominee.
  • Official academic transcripts: Include official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Proof of US Citizenship: Birth certificate, US passport, or naturalization papers are accepted.

Additional application materials:

  • Nomination form: To be filled out by the nominating faculty member with the student’s aid.
  • Two letters of nomination: Two strong letters of nomination must be submitted, one by the nominating professor and the other by an additional faculty member at the student’s institution. Ideally, the nominating faculty will know the student well enough to identify research achievements as well as a special drive or talent that foreshadows a creative career leading to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology.

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB article about Melissa Mai and Vinay Ayyappan, 2018 Astronaut Scholars

HUB article about Alfred Chin, 2017 Astronaut Scholar

Peer testimonial from Melissa Mai (2018 Astronaut Scholar)

Read Sample Essays

Previous applications are available starting in November in the “NFP Spring Awards Portfolio.” To view it, inquire at the Study Abroad Office in Levering Hall 4B during regular walk-in hours (2:00-3:30pm, M-F). You must remain in the Study Abroad Office while viewing the portfolio and may not digitally reproduce any included materials.