Student participates in Aerospace Scholars Program

April 30, 2009

By Jim Feehan

As a small child, Monica Razniewski enjoyed assembling model airplanes. Today, the Hazen High School junior is now designing a tool to be used for the international space station.

Razniewski is among 260 juniors from across the state accepted into the first phase of Washington Aerospace Scholars program. The program hosted by the Museum of Flight, emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math, and encourages students to consider careers in these fields. 

Monica Razniewski, a junior at Hazen High School, is among 260 students in the state participating in the Washington Aerospace Scholars program through the Museum of Flight. By Jim Feehan

Monica Razniewski, a junior at Hazen High School, is among 260 students in the state participating in the Washington Aerospace Scholars program through the Museum of Flight. By Jim Feehan

“I enjoy learning about Mars and designing a lunar base,” Razniewski said. “NASA needs doctors and biologists, so this program will help me prepare for a career in either aerospace, astronomy or biomedical science.”

She’s no stranger to the aerospace industry. Her father, Matthew has been an engineer at Boeing for the past 17 years. 

The first phase of the program covers the history and future of space exploration. Students complete readings, compose essays, design graphics and solve mathematical programs. 

The second phase of the program is guided by professional engineers and educators as they work with students to design a human mission to Mars, tour engineering facilities, receive briefings from experts in the field, and compete in hands-on engineering challenges. 

The program started in Washington in 2007 and is an educational experience open to high school juniors statewide. Houston has a similar program, entitled Houston Aerospace Scholars. 

Melissa Edwards, the program’s administrator, credits it with promoting science, technology, engineering and math careers.

“This is a good program for those interested in science, and looks great as a reference on a resume,” Edwards said.

The application and selection process begins in the fall. Applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average, be at least 16 years old and a U.S. citizen. The program is free to students thanks to grants from The Boeing Co., Batelle, Microsoft, the Aldarra Foundation, the Apex Foundation and individual donors. 

The purpose of the program is to increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students in the state, Edwards said. 

When Razniewski is not logging three hours per week participating in the program, she’s rehearsing for the school’s spring production of “Oklahoma.” 

Two years ago, Razniewski won the state Reflections competition in the film and video category while a student at McKnight Middle School. She’s also fluent in Polish with both parents having emigrated from Poland.

Razniewski recommends the program for future networks in the science field.

“For anyone interested in aerospace engineering or in becoming an astronaut, this program is absolutely recommended,” she said. “The networking you can gain from this experience can make either of these careers happen.”

On the Web

Learn more about the Aerospace Scholars Program at www.museumofflight.org/washingtonaerospacescholars

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