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Island students graduate from Washington State Aerospace Scholars program

The Washington Aerospace Scholars program is pleased to announce that Islanders William Voit and Matthew Wiens are graduates of the 2009 WAS Summer Residency at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is a competitive educational program for high school juniors from across Washington state. Voit and Wiens were among the 150 students who qualified for the Washington Aerospace Scholars Summer Residency program from 260 students who applied last November.

To qualify for the residency program, the Mercer Island High School students 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 program, 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, 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.

Washington Aerospace Scholars will be accepting applications in early September for the 2009-2010 program cycle. Go to www.museumofflight.org/washingtonaerospacescholars.

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