The ASF offers financial aid to aspiring astronauts enrolled at 34 cooperating universities. Six of the Mercury 7 astronauts founded the Mercury 7 Foundation, eventually renamed the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to encourage students to focus on science, and has awarded $4 million to more than 400 scholars. Its original founders have since been by astronauts from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and the Space Shuttle. Candidates for a scholarship must be in their second year at a university and nominated by a professor. A liaison committee at each university narrows the field to two candidates who “must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math.” A listing of previous winners and their disciplines is online.
In a program called BIRST, or Ball Intern Rocket Science Team, college students spend eight weeks of the summer working with payload teams to prepare science packages for orbit. The company also offers 10-week internships at its offices in Colorado, Ohio, Washington, and New Mexico for practical work experience in engineering. At the end of the internships, students might have the opportunity to interview for permanent positions at Ball Aerospace.
The NSBRI offers undergraduate, graduate, veterinary, and medical students summer internships performing biomedical research at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.