Washington Aerospace Scholars

Contact Washington Aerospace Scholars

Melissa Edwards - Director

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle, WA 98108

p: 206.764.5866
f: 206.764.5707

Program Audience(s): 

Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is an educational program for high school juniors from across Washington State. The WAS program emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math, and encourages students to consider careers in these fields.



One of the most exciting educational opportunities for students in the State of Washington

Governor Christine O. Gregoire

This program really changed my views on math and science. Before coming here for the week, I did not really care about math and science, and I thought it was a pointless class to take because we would never use this in the future.  By being a part of this program, I have come to realize that math and science are vitally important.

- Ali E. – Thomas Jefferson High School

I would absolutely recommend WAS to other students. WAS is a fun, interesting program filled with activities all designed to help you learn more about space and the engineering world in general.  From this residency experience, I’ve learned the tough work engineers go through every day and the whole reason behind it: seeing something you’ve designed or helped build actually work!  There’s nothing else more fulfilling.

-Jayden G. – Monroe High School

What is Washington Aerospace Scholars?

The program is divided into two components – the online curriculum and the Summer Residency.

  • Phase One, is an online distance-learning curriculum that was developed in partnership with NASA and the University of Washington from early December until mid-May. The curriculum covers the history and future of space exploration and is a concepts course for liberal arts and beginning science and engineering students interested in the space environment around the Earth, its control by solar activity, and potential opportunities for the exploration of the solar system.

Students will have the option to register (for a fee) to earn five University of Washington credits in Space and Space Travel -ESS 102 based on their successful completion of the WAS online curriculum. This course will satisfy the Natural World area of knowledge requirement for graduation from the University of Washington.

  • Phase Two is a six-day summer residency experience hosted by the Museum of Flight. To earn a space in this summer residency experience, students are expected to meet deadlines and show mastery of the Phase One curriculum; up to 160 of the top-performing students will be invited to participate in the Summer Residency based on their academic performance in Phase One. During the residency students are guided by professional engineers and educators as they design a human mission to Mars, tour engineering facilities, receive briefings from experts in the field, and compete in hands-on engineering challenges.

Who can participate?

Students from every legislative district across Washington State compete to take part in this exciting program. Participants must be:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Washington State residents
  • Juniors in high school with minimum cumulative GPAs of 3.0 (students with a GPAs below 3.0 can apply for conditional acceptance and will receive full acceptance upon demonstrating adequate academic progress)
  • Able to access the internet (home, school or public library)
  • Committed to completing online lessons to qualify for a six-day residential summer experience
  • Interested in science, technology, engineering and/or math.

What will the students do?

Phase One, distance learning with a NASA and UW-designed curriculum, is completed via the internet. Phase One consists of ten bi-weekly lessons and a final project. Each lesson has tasks, collectively called a “mission” that include a reading quiz, a space related math problem, and a 500-word essay (some of which require students to create graphics), and virtual lab activities; because this is a 102 level college course, it is estimated that each lesson will take 12-15 hours to complete over each two-week period.  

During Phase One, students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based activities including:

  • Virtual chat-sessions with experts and professionals from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math

Phase Two is a six-day residential summer experience at The Museum of Flight where select students will be guided by mentors and classroom teachers. Activities will include:

  • Mission to Mars team project
  • Hands-on engineering activities involving model rockets, robotic rovers, landers and payload lofting
  • Briefings by astronauts, engineers, scientists and aerospace experts
  • Tours of various engineering facilities
  • Enrichment activities


How do students and teachers apply for the Washington Aerospace Scholars program?

The 2014-15 student and teacher applications will be available to complete online mid-September 2014.

Student and teacher applications will be due November 7, 2014.


If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your contact information to Washington Aerospace Scholars.



How are students supported during the program?


Certified Washington teachers serve as Online Academic Evaluators during the distance learning portion and Academic Facilitators during the residential summer experience. In Fall 2013, WAS will seek math and science teachers to evaluate online coursework for up to 20 high school juniors in preparation for their participation in a six-day summer residency at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. During the Summer Residency, selected teachers are invited to the Summer Residency session to guide a team of ten scholars, supporting their work and providing supervision (responsibilities include lodging with the students at a local hotel; single rooms are provided for teachers). Participating teachers will receive stipends of $800 for their participation and are eligible for 60 clock hours. Lodging, meals, and travel expenses are also provided by the WAS Foundation.

Eligible teachers must be U.S. citizens and practicing, Washington State certified, teachers of science, math, technology or related subjects.

The ideal candidates are teachers with experience teaching high school mathematics, science or technology-related courses. Experience with chaperoning student trips or camps is beneficial but not required. Continuous access to, and a working knowledge of, the internet and e-mail are essential.

Mentors & Assistant Mentors

During the summer residencies students are mentored by scientists and aerospace engineers, who are, in turn, assisted by university students.

We will be accepting applications in Spring 2014 from engineering / science professionals and university students interested in volunteering their time to mentor the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals. These volunteers will support the scholars as they design a human mission to Mars. One Mentor and one Assistant Mentor will work with a team of ten scholars for one week. The time commitment is approximately 20 hours (8am-12pm, Monday-Friday), plus attendance at a closing luncheon banquet on Friday from 12-2pm. Volunteers are encouraged to attend other summer residency activities as their schedules permit.


 The Washington Aerospace Scholars Foundation would like to acknowledge that the 2012-13 WAS Program was made possible with support from the following:

Former Governor Christine O. Gregoire
Ardell Anderson Karen Johnson
BAE Systems Larry & Candis Int-Hout
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Lindsay & Tom Blackner

Bill Cook Foundation

Mark & Kristin Simpson
Bob Semlow Matthew & Elizabeth Knuth
Boeing Company Charitable Trust Michael & Cathy Reeves
Boeing Employee Community Involvement Mr. Bill Boeing Jr.
Bonnie Dunbar Brad & Danielle Tilden
Bravo 369 Flight Foundation Nikhil Rao
Christoph & Mary Enderlein PNAA
Debbi Davis Robin Westby
Dee Dickinson Ronald & Ouided Gompertz
Dimmer Family Foundation Sara DenHerder
Donald & Kathy Campton Scott & Helen Doty
Memoriam for Ken Holtby Spokane Rotary Club 21
Dr. Kathleen Painter

Stanley and Lisa Chabert

Dr. Erika Wagner Stephen Miller
GenCorp Foundation Tanya Bednarski
Grace & Leonard Kolodychuk Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium
Howard Mendel