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Morgan State University has announced the winner of the 2022 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) award is Sarai Rankin, a senior from the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

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In addition to a $15,000 scholarship, other benefits include networking and mentoring opportunities with astronauts, alumni, and industry leaders; and participation in a professional development program named for Michael Collins, the NASA astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969.

The scholarship also includes a paid trip to attend ASF’s Innovators Week and an opportunity to present research at the Astronaut Scholar Technical Conference being held August 24-27 in Orland, FL.

“I am honored to be inducted as an Astronaut Scholar with the other brilliant minds in my cohort,” said Rankin in a statement. “With their support, I will continue my research of deep space objects and spread enthusiasm for and knowledge of astronomy within my community. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity!”

Rankin, a physics major, spent the summer working as an undergraduate student researcher with the Center for Astrophysics, a research partnership between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Harvard College Observatory. Before taking on that role, Rankin interned with Johns Hopkins University as a research student at the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Survey.

Tanae Lewis from North Carolina A&T State University is pursuing a degree in chemistry. She is currently working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine visualizing protein expression in primary cilia and analyzing how primary cilia interact with different cells in the body.

According to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), the North Carolina A&T State University Astronaut Scholarship is made possible by Bernard Harris with the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Astronaut Group and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

“Every year, we are blown away by the dozens of extraordinary undergraduate students who are dedicated to pursuing STEM to help create a better life here on Earth,” said Caroline Schumacher, ASF’s president and CEO. “Ultimately, we are fueling the career paths of these students, who are destined to make lasting contributions in their chosen STEM fields and become the game-changers of tomorrow.”

Kathleen Bostick from Spelman College is working towards a degree in biology and spent the summer investigating the effect of optogenetic stimulation of dSPN’s in the striatum on movement initiation at New York University.

The ASF awards the Astronaut Scholarship to exceptional juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) with the intent to pursue research or otherwise advance their field upon receipt of their final degree.

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