Georgia Tech Student Receives Astronaut Scholarship

The very first Space Shuttle pilot, Robert Crippen, will present Georgia Tech Junior Joy Buolamwini with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a public presentation and ceremony, Friday, September 3 at 11:00 a.m. in the Klaus Advanced Computing Building, Georgia Tech Campus.

Joy Buolamwini
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Georgia Tech Junior Joy Buolamwini received a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

The award ceremony will coincide with a presentation by Crippen, a four flight veteran, who has logged more than 565 hours in space, orbited the earth 374 times and traveled more than 9.4 million miles. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“It is my honor to be presenting Joy with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award,” said Crippen, “Joy is a bright, up-and-coming forerunner in the field of computer science and she will be one of the many leaders who will keep the United States at the leading edge of breakthrough technology.”

Buolamwini is majoring in computer science and holds a 4.0 GPA. She has worked on a data tracking system for Google-sponsored research and is interested in developing affordable mobile technology to propel economic development in West African nations. Buolamwini is also interested in health care applications of computer technology. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in computer science and pursue “research with an entrepreneurial spirit.”

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. Twenty of these prestigious awards were dispersed this year through ASF to outstanding college students majoring in science, engineering or math. More than $3 million in scholarships have been awarded to date with $204,000 to Georgia Tech students alone. These well-rounded students exhibit motivation, imagination and intellectual daring, as well as exceptional performance, both in and out of the classroom.

Crippen was selected as a NASA Astronaut in September 1969. After serving as a member of the Astronaut support crew for Skylab 2,3 and 4, he was named Pilot for the first Shuttle Columbia, STS-1, and served as the spacecraft commander for STS-7, STS-41C and STS-41G. STS-1 was the first spacecraft to launch with wings using solid rocket boosters, as well as the first winged reentry vehicle to return to a conventional runway landing. Crippen, a retired Navy captain, later served as director, NSTS Operations, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, and as KSC director from 1992 to January 1995. He then served as president of Thiokol Aerospace Group in Utah and now resides in Florida. Crippen serves on the Board of Directors for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on November 10, 2001.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization established by the Mercury Astronauts in 1984. Its goal is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for exceptional college students pursuing degrees in these fields. Today, more than 80 Astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.  For more information, call 321-455-7015 or log on to