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Five area students complete aerospace scholars program

Bellevue students who are aerospace scholars. - Courtesy photos
Bellevue students who are aerospace scholars.
— image credit: Courtesy photos

Five Bellevue-area students have graduated from theWashington Aerospace Scholars program. Rachel Gebhart, Erik Wyatt, Jean-Luc Jackson, Michael Zhang and Thomas Kraft completed the 2009 WAS summer

residency at Th e Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is a competitive educational program for high school juniors from across Washington state. Gebhart, Wyatt, Jackson, Zhang and Kraft were among the 150 students who qualified for the summer program 260 students who applied last November.To qualify for the residency program, Gebhart of International School of Bellevue, Wyatt of Hillside Student Community, Jackson of

Bellevue High School, Zhang of Interlake High School, and Kraft of Insight School of Washington spent six months studying a NASA-designed, distance-learning curriculum via the Internet.Based on their academic performance on the distance-learning lessons,

they were selected to attend one of the four residencies hosted at the Museum this summer.

During the residency experience, they collaborated with the other student participants on the design of a human mission to Mars. WAS scholars are guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators as they plan these missions.The WAS program is designed to inspire students to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) but the students are divided into teams which also require them to learn about mission management, budgets, the legal aspects of space exploration, and medicine.

In addition to the design of the human mission to Mars, the WAS scholars participated in a number of hands-on

engineering challenges. These challenges included design, construction and deployment of robotic rovers, model

rockets, lander devices, and payload lofting systems.Summer residency participants also received briefings from

experts in the fields of engineering, science, physics, medicine, project management, risk management, and space exploration, such as Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired NASA astronaut and CEO of The Museum of Flight.

The scholars also visited Everett for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Boeing Commercial Airplane assembly plant, (including the new 787) and toured engineering laboratories at the University of Washington.

Washington Aerospace Scholars will be accepting applications this month for the 2009-2010 program cycle. More information is available at www.museumofflight.org/washingtonaerospacescholars and to download an application.WAS participants must be

high school juniors with 3.0 minimum grade-point-averages, United States citizens and Washington state residents.

The deadline for student applications is Nov. 6.

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