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KU nominates 4 students for Astronaut Scholarships

Friday, April 19, 2019

LAWRENCE — Four academically talented University of Kansas students will be competing for scholarships from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Astronaut Scholarship was founded in 1984 by the six surviving members of the Mercury 7 mission as a means to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have joined the foundation, which has awarded more than $4 million to more than 400 of the nation’s top scholars.

The scholarship provides up to $10,000 during a student’s junior or senior year for “outstanding students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the fields of engineering, mathematics and natural or applied sciences.”

KU’s nominees:

  • Madison Foster, a junior from Topeka double majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology and global & international studies
  • Anna Goddard, a junior from Lincoln, Nebraska, majoring in biology and mathematics
  • Tyler Nguyen, a junior from Kansas City, Kansas, majoring in chemistry and minoring in astrobiology
  • Eleanor Stewart-Jones, a junior from Mission majoring in chemistry.

Up to two of KU’s nominees may receive awards after submitting information to the national foundation. The winners of the scholarship will be announced later this spring.

KU’s Office of Fellowships coordinated the application process with the assistance of a nominations committee chaired by Steven Hawley, KU professor emeritus and a former astronaut.

Additional information about KU’s nominees:

Madison Foster is the daughter of Andrew and Laura Perkins of Topeka and Kevin Foster of Kansas City. Foster is a candidate in the environmental field. A graduate of Shawnee Heights High School, Foster has been involved with the KU Environs student group, the All Scholarship Hall Council, the University Honors Program and as an undergraduate researcher for the Kansas Biological Survey, working with Terrance Loecke, assistant professor of environmental studies, and Amy Burgin, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and environmental studies and an alumna of the Udall Scholar Program. Foster has completed internships with the Douglas County Health Department and at an organic farm in Oregon.

Anna Goddard is the daughter of Anne and Steve Goddard of Lincoln, Nebraska, and she is a graduate of Lincoln Southwest High School. She is a double major in biology and mathematics. Goddard is planning a career researching genetic diseases. She works in the lab of Associate Professor Maria Orive in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, using mathematical modeling in population and evolutionary biology. Goddard is also a member of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity and has presented at the national Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Tyler Nguyen is the son of Tung and Huyen Nguyen of Kansas City, Kansas, and he is a graduate of Piper High School. He is majoring in chemistry with a minor in astrobiology. Nguyen is planning a career researching chemical modifications of materials and proteins for nanotechnology and bioengineering applications. He works in the lab of Associate Professor Cindy Berrie in the Department of Chemistry, developing model systems for enzyme-based sensors for disease diagnosis, a biological application of nanotechnology. He has presented his research in several settings locally and regionally, as well as at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Orlando, Florida.

​Eleanor Stewart-Jones is the daughter of Brian Jones and stepdaughter of Loes Niedekker, and daughter of Teresa Stewart and stepdaughter of Scott Leigh. A graduate of Shawnee Mission East, her hometown is Mission. Stewart-Jones is majoring in chemistry with a minor in French. She works in the lab of Professor Tim Jackson in the Department of Chemistry, researching the reactivity seen in manganese model systems. Stewart-Jones serves as a research ambassador for the Center for Undergraduate Research and recently presented her research at the Max Planck Matter to Life Conference in Tegernsee, Germany.