Western Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is an online distance learning course and summer experience specifically designed for high school students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pathways through the exploration of space and space travel.

Video by WAS 2020 Summer Residency Public Relations Team

The online curriculum is a University of Washington college course focused on NASA’s space exploration program as well as topics in Earth and Space Science.

If scholars successfully complete the online curriculum, they are invited to participate in multi-day summer experiences that provide them the opportunity to work with STEM professionals, NASA scientists, university students, and STEM educators.

Junior Program Student Requirements

  • You must be a junior in high school in fall 2020.
  • You must have Internet accessibility and be a resident of Washington, Oregon or Montana resident to participate in Phase One.

Acceptance into the online course is based on a completed application and student interest. We value diverse voices and ideas and believe in the importance of bringing multiple perspectives to our discussion of topics related to human space exploration.

There are no math or science requirements for participation, but pre-algebra and essay writing coursework will be helpful. There will be academic support provided during the online course and students are able (and encouraged) to reach out their current high school teachers for help.


The junior level program application is available now and is due by October 30, 2020.

The online course will run from the first of November until early March and consists of seven bi-weekly lessons and a final project. If they successfully complete the online curriculum students can be invited to participate in a six-day summer residency experience that provides them to the opportunity to work with STEM professionals, NASA scientists, university students and STEM educators. Students can also apply to receive five University of Washington natural science credits for their work during the online course.

Student application due by Friday, October 30

WAS Student Application

Why should a student participate?

  • Participating in the online distance learning course helps students understand the components and expectations for college level coursework while they are still in high school, particularly the importance of good time management and the ability to prioritize.
  • Being able to state on a resume or college admission application that they completed a five-credit University of Washington course, while in high school, will help to set them apart from other applicants.
  • Regardless of where they live, participating in WAS enables students to interact with like-minded peers and participate in virtual chats with STEM professionals currently working in a field of interest to them.
  • The summer experiences provide students the opportunity to have fun learning about the universe in which we live, to meet other students with similar interests, and to challenge themselves to plan realistic future space missions.
  • Being a graduate of the WAS program puts scholars in an alumni network of over 1600 students who are at top colleges and military academies across the country and who work at STEM companies, including Boeing, Microsoft, SpaceX, Facebook and NASA.
  • WAS alumni frequently report that their experience builds their confidence, interpersonal skills, and prepares them for success in college.

Have more questions? Read our WAS Program FAQ. Please select the one for your state.

WAS Program FAQ - WA & OR

WAS Program FAQ - MT

STEM Teachers

WAS is seeking STEM teachers to evaluate online coursework and participate as an academic facilitator during the summer. In addition to being exposed to university level curriculum and content, participants will also have opportunities to interact with professionals working in STEM fields, tour engineering and research facilities that are not open to the general public, work with highly engaged and motivated students, and learn new techniques for demonstrating STEM concepts in their classrooms.

Stipends and clock hours are available.

The teacher application contains more details about expectations and schedule. Application due by Friday, October 9, 2020

WAS Teacher Application

For more information, contact WAS@museumofflight.org or call 206-764-5863.