If your teenager is interested in space travel and exploration, then he or she may be interested in the High School Aerospace Scholars program (HAS), a free NASA opportunity for current high school juniors. The application deadline is November 4th.
Through the program, students are given the chance to learn about aerospace engineering and exploration through specially designed online learning activities, and they are put in contact with NASA researchers and engineers who can act as mentors. Online activities and mentorship extend throughout the spring semester and into the summer, and the program culminates with a six-day “residential summer experience” at Johnson Space Center. The summer experience centers on an engineering design project in which students collaborate with one another and their mentors, and the final design is presented to Johnson Space Center staff. The entire program is free of charge; even room and board during the summer experience are provided at no cost.
Programs like this one provide valuable resources for students interested in aerospace-related careers. HISD has more than 30 STEM magnets across all grade levels, but the closest thing to an aerospace focus any of them has is the rocketry program at Washington High – there is no HISD magnet for aerospace engineering and science. And with the exception of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, few local private schools include aerospace in their STEM offerings either. So for students interested in aerospace fields, HAS is a unique opportunity to get organized instruction and learn more about their areas of interest while still in high school.
Participation in a program like HAS would also be helpful for these students in the college admissions process next year. College admissions officers look favorably upon students who have taken the initiative to pursue their interests, but even more importantly, HAS allows students to enter into mentor-pupil relationships with NASA professionals. It is rare for college applicants to have solid recommendation letters from professionals in their prospective field of study, and if a HAS mentorship resulted in such a letter, it would be a great asset for the student. The mentorship component of the program would be particularly valuable for students considering careers in research science, since it might lead to further research collaboration down the road.
If your child would be interested in HAS, or if you know someone else who might be, you can find more information and the online application here.