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 an Overview of Sophomore WAS!

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 Oregon State.
  • You must have internet accessibility to participate in Phase One.

Time Frame

The 2018 WAS 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 experiences will be held in July and August of 2018 at a variety of locations across Oregon and students are invited to participate in the location closest to them. Sophomore summer experiences are not residential, rather daily workshops held from 8am until 5:30pm. Specific dates and locations for the summer experiences will be shared with scholars at the start of their online experience in March 2018.

Click Here for the Sophomore Student Application

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

Click Here for More Information about the WAS 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 applications for the WAS Sophomore program are available now and due by Friday, February 2nd, 2018.

Click Here for WAS 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. 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 Oregon State resident to participate in Phase One.
  • You must be a US citizen to participate in Phase Two.


The 2018-19 junior program applications will be available in August 2018.

The junior program Summer Residency is a six-day experience (Sunday to Friday) held in July 2019. Specific details about location and exact dates will be shared to scholars at the start of the online program.

Click here for a WAS program overview!

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

Supplemental Materials:

Check out the article about Sophomore WAS in the Keizer Times: Click Here

WAS Postcard

WAS Postcard (Somali)

WAS Postcard (Spanish)