Western Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is an online distance learning course and summer experience specifically designed for high school sophomores and juniors interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The online curriculum is a University of Washington college course focused on NASA’s space exploration program as well as topics in earth and space science.

If they successfully complete the online curriculum, students are invited to participate in multi-day summer experiences that provide them to the opportunity to work with STEM professionals, NASA scientists, university students and STEM educators.

Why should a student participate in WAS?

  • Participating in the online distance learning course helps students understand the components and expectations for college level coursework while they are still in high school, particularly the importance of good time management and the ability to prioritize.
  • Being able to state on a resume or college admission application that they completed a five-credit University of Washington course, while in high school, will help to set them apart from other applicants.
  • Regardless of where they live, participating in WAS enables students to interact with like-minded peers and participate in virtual chats with STEM professionals currently working in a field of interest to them.
  • The summer experiences provide students the opportunity to have fun while learning about the universe in which we live, meeting other students with similar interests, and challenging themselves to plan realistic future space missions.
  • Being a graduate of the WAS program puts scholars in an alumni network of over 1400 students who are at top colleges and military academies across the country and who work at STEM companies, including Boeing, SpaceX, Facebook and Aerojet Rocketdyne.
  • WAS alumni frequently report that their experience in WAS built their confidence, interpersonal skills, and prepared them for success in college.

Sophomore program

Click Here for a WAS Sophomore Program Overview

The sophomore level program serves as an introduction to the junior course. It is an online course that takes place in the spring of sophomore year and contains the first two lessons of the junior program. Students who successfully complete the online coursework are invited to participate in a three-day summer experience and are granted automatic admission into the junior program. There is no cost to participate in either phase of the sophomore program.

Student Requirements

  • You must currently be a sophomore in high school and a resident of Montana State.
  • You must have Internet accessibility to participate in Phase One.

Time Frame

The 2018 sophomore program application is available now and will be due Friday, February 16th, 2018. Phase One begins Tuesday, March 6th with assignments due every two weeks until April 3rd, 2018.

The sophomore three-day summer experience is a residential camp and will be held at The Montana Learning Center outside Helena, Montana from August 11-13, 2018.

Click Here for the Sophomore Student Application

For more information please email was@museumofflight.org or call 206-764-5866

Click Here to Find Out More About the Sophomore Program!

STEM Teachers

WAS is seeking STEM teachers to evaluate online coursework and participate as an academic facilitator during the summer experiences for both the sophomore and junior programs. In addition to being exposed to university level curriculum and content, teachers will also have opportunities to interact with professionals working in STEM fields, tour engineering and research facilities that are not open to the general public, work with highly engaged and motivated students, and learn new techniques for demonstrating STEM concepts in their classrooms.

  • Stipends and clock hours are available!

The applications for the Junior program educator position have closed, but the application for the Sophomore program educator position is now open.

Click Here for the Sophomore Online Academic Evaluator Application

Junior Program

The junior level program runs from mid-November to early April and has students participating in an online course consisting of ten bi-weekly lessons and a final project. If they successfully complete the online curriculum, students can apply to receive five University of Washington natural science (ESS 102) credits and are invited to participate in a six-day summer residency experience at The Montana Learning Center outside Helena, Montana. The Summer Residency provides students to the opportunity to work with STEM professionals, NASA scientists, university students and STEM educators to plan a human mission to Mars. There is no cost to participate in either phase of the program, but students can pay to receive UW credit for their online work during Phase One.

Student Requirements:

  • You must currently be a junior in high school.
  • You must have Internet access and be an Montana State resident to participate in Phase One.
  • You must be a US citizen to participate in Phase Two.

Time Frame:

The 2017-18 junior program application was due Friday, November 3, 2017. Phase One began Thursday November 16th with assignments due every two weeks until April 5th, 2018.

The junior program Summer Residency is a six-day experience (Sunday to Friday) held at The Montana Learning Center outside Helena, Montana from August 5-10, 2018.

Click here to view an overview of the WAS program!

The Western Aerospace Scholars program is sponsored by NASA and The Museum of Flight.

Supplemental Materials:

Check out the media reports about our 2017 Sophomore Program at the Montana Learning Center:

KTVH: Big Sky Treasures: NASA Camp held at Canyon Ferry
http://www.ktvh.com/2017/08/nasa-camp-held-at-canyon-ferry

Montana kids build Mars rovers at Canyon Ferry NASA camp
http://helenair.com/news/local/montana-kids-build-...

WAS Postcard

WAS Postcard (Somali)

WAS Postcard (Spanish)