AEM student receives Astronaut Scholarship
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics senior Sam Schreiner was on a trip to Illinois when he received a text message from his dad. “You got a letter from that Astronaut thing today. I tried to read it through the envelope, but couldn’t really tell what it said.” Schreiner had completed an application for the Astronaut Scholarship program and previously been selected as one of three University of Minnesota students whose applications were sent on to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Committee. He knew the letter must be telling him whether or not he was selected to receive the scholarship.
Schreiner texted his dad back, telling him to open the letter. But his dad had walked away from the phone; Schreiner had to wait an excruciating 90 minutes before finding out the contents of the letter. When Schreiner finally heard back, he was ecstatic – he had received the $10,000 scholarship.
Schreiner was one of two University of Minnesota students who received a scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The other was Mechanical Engineering student Brett Neubauer.
Schreiner and Neubauer, both in the University Honors Program, are two of only 26 students nationwide to receive this scholarship. Since 1994 the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has distributed $191,000 to Astronaut Scholars at the University of Minnesota.
“Brett and Sam are clear leaders in engineering at the University of Minnesota,” Gemini and Apollo astronaut James Lovell said in a press release. “They are prime examples of everything Astronaut Scholars are supposed to be: intelligent, perseverant and destined for greatness. I am honored to have the opportunity to present these awards to such worthy U of M students.”
Schreiner was nominated for the scholarship by Physics Professor Cynthia Cattell. As Schreiner’s faculty research mentor, she was most familiar with him and his research experience.
“It’s amazing to receive this kind of acknowledgement and support from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation,” Schreiner said. “I’ve been interested in research since I first came to the University of Minnesota and to receive this affirmation of my work is wonderful.”
Schreiner plans to obtain a graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering after graduating with his Bachelor’s degree.
“I hope that one day I will be able to help design the next generation of spacecraft that will carry humanity out into the Solar System,” Schreiner said. “I want to play as big a role as possible in designing spacecraft and firmly believe that obtaining a graduate degree is the best way to help me achieve that goal.”
The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in these fields. Today, more than 80 astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this effort.