Tufts Senior Wins Astronaut Scholarship

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Tufts University senior Summer Morrill will receive a $10,000 scholarship through the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation from astronaut Kathryn Thornton on Friday, October 17 in Alumnae Lounge on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization established by the Mercury astronauts in 1984.

At the presentation, which is open to the public, Thornton will share her experiences flying four Space Shuttle missions during her 12 years in the astronaut corps, including when she served as a mission specialist and Intra Vehicular Activity crewmember for the first and only three-person spacewalk in May 1992.

Morrill is a senior majoring in biology in Tufts School of Arts and Sciences.  She has served as an undergraduate research assistant at the Fuchs Lab at Tufts for over two years, which is a collaboration with Northern Essex Community College Lab Associates’ Degree Program led by Stephen M. Fuchs, assistant professor of chemical and molecular biology at Tufts. She also served as summer research intern at Whistler Lab at University of New Hampshire for two years. In addition, she serves as a biology and chemistry tutor at Tufts’ Academic Resource Center. Morrill has extensive volunteer experience with Relay for Life, Tufts’ annual event benefitting the American Cancer Society.

Thornton flew as mission specialist aboard the Department of Defense STS-33 mission in November 1989, and again in 1992 aboard the maiden flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-49.

In December 1993, she served as mission specialist aboard the first Hubble Space Telescope (HST) repair mission, STS-61. She has served on several influential boards and councils including the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team, the Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group, and the National Research Council Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board and the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Air University. Currently, she serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) funds twenty-eight $10,000 scholarships—the highest monetary award given to undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics students based solely on merit in America—and has awarded over $3.7 million to deserving students nationwide. Since 1994, $172,500 has been disbursed to Tufts University students. 

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 towww.AstronautScholarship.org

About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoy a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

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