With the aerospace industry on the precipice of a period of unprecedented growth, Virgin Galactic wants to make sure life in the firmament is representative of life on the ground.
On Tuesday, the world’s first commercial spaceline announced the first group of college students to be awarded scholarships as part of its Galactic Unite Black Leaders in Aerospace Scholarship and Training (BLAST) program. The prize, which includes up to three years of funding, is intended to help position each recipient to continue in the field even after their studies are complete.
Black people represent 13.4 percent of the US population, as well as 15.3 percent of undergraduate and graduate students, but just three percent of aerospace executives. Virgin Galactic hopes that BLAST will help change this by providing each scholar with opportunities and a network to help foster career success in the industry.
The 2021 BLAST cohort includes: Kaylin Moss, a junior studying Computer Science at Marist College; Amaury Reed, a senior studying Aerospace Engineering at San Diego State University; Taiwo-Bayonle Olayiwola, a senior studying Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington; Benjamin Adarkwa, a junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Maryland at College Park, and Joey Arnold, a Junior studying Electrical Engineering at Drexel University.
“I am honored to be part of the Galactic Unite Black Leaders in Aerospace Training Program! It has been a dream of mine to contribute to making space more accessible to all and that dream is finally coming to fruition with the help of Virgin Galactic,” one of the inaugural fellows, Green, said in a statement. “I am ecstatic to learn as much as possible from my prospective mentor and the rest of the Virgin Galactic Team. Experiences like these really do keep young engineers facing the rigours of their academic course-load motivated, and passionate about the work they do.”
BLAST is the latest extension Virgin Galactic’s Galactic United scholarship programme. The initiative has already awarded $1 million (around £700,000) to 100 student around the globe. Of those scholarship recipients, more than half have been women and over a third represent ethnic minorities.
From Robb Report USA