AIAA Roger W. Kahn Scholarship
AIAA Roger W. Kahn Scholarship
The Roger W. Kahn Scholarship was created to honor the memory of Roger Kahn (1907–1962) and his passion for aviation and entertainment. Kahn spent the latter part of his career at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation as a test pilot and then managed the technical service and sales division. In the 1940s, Kahn was actively involved with the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (one of the predecessor organizations of AIAA) and later served as its vice president. Kahn also was an accomplished jazz musician as early as the 1920s, composing songs often featured in stage productions and early films, as well as leading numerous orchestras. He became a recording artist for some of the first record labels including Victor, Brunswick, and Columbia.
AIAA is awarding up to four $10,000 scholarships to high school seniors who enroll in an engineering major at a college or university!
Scholarship also includes:
- Complimentary airfare and hotel to attend the 2023 AIAA Awards Gala
- A mentor from AIAA’s professional members to help guide the student to achieve a career in aerospace.
Applications for the AIAA Roger W. Kahn Scholarship open 1 September and close on 31 December at 2359 hrs ET. For questions, email K-12STEM@aiaa.org.
Current high school senior intending to pursue an aerospace or related major at a college or university (must provide proof of enrollment to receive the scholarship funds)
Minimum high school GPA of 3.5
Demonstrated interest in aerospace through extracurricular activities
Must have an AIAA High School Membership – It’s Free!
Underrepresented students encouraged to apply
Transcript that shows high school unweighted GPA using the 4.0 scale
1-page statement that describes STEM-related studies and/or extracurricular activities
Letter of recommendation from STEM educator or mentor
AIAA Roger W. Kahn Scholarship Winners
Attending in the fall: Florida Institute of Technology
I live with my loving, supportive family in Nolensville, Tennessee. I am the technical director for the Nolensville Theatre Department and have helped lead technical teams and actors through many productions. I am also involved in my school's Society of Women Engineers chapter, student council, and black empowerment club, and am a member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society.
In elementary school, I always wanted to read all of the books available about planets and stars, learning and reciting all of the facts. In middle school, I watched the movie, Hidden Figures, and saw smart, strong, gorgeous black women like me in one of the hardest fields there is: rocket science. These influences helped me transform my love for space into a dream to become an aerospace engineer.
I have committed to Florida Institute of Technology for fall 2023, to further my education and career.
I was born in New York and raised by my parents who immigrated from Bangladesh. My parents taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance, values which have stuck with me to this day. Math has always been my favorite subject in school and music comes in as a close second. When I was 6 years old, I would write out my times tables on a whiteboard and color code them whenever I had free time because I thought it was fun.
As I grew older, I realized that I wanted a mathematics-related career that required more hands-on tasks and creativity. In the summer before 9th grade, I attended the NASA MUREP Aerospace Academy Program at York College where my knowledge and love for aerospace blossomed. As I learned how to build robots and rockets, I realized that aerospace engineering is the type of career that I wanted to pursue. Therefore, I will be attending college as an aerospace/ mechanical engineering major and plan on working at NASA one day.
Before I became a Texan, I was a New Yorker, and before that, I was a Vietnamese immigrant on my way to the USA. Despite the changes in scenery, being a big sister has always been a constant in my life. The home is where I first developed my passion for science. From blowing bubbles into hyacinth-forcing jars to increase root mass and finding native plant seeds with my siblings, I didn’t let the walls of my home restrict me from pursuing what I found most interesting.
I was introduced to space through my little brother. When he received a telescope, I studied the planets and beyond! I enjoyed using my talents to instruct and make others happy, and I found that I had a knack for astrophotography — placing fourth at the 2022 TSA Regional Competition with no formal training.
I plan to pursue a degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering with a minor in political science. With my studies, I hope to gain an interdisciplinary perspective that I can rely upon throughout my career in the aerospace sector.
I grew up marveling at the stars and the moon and have never stopped. I am currently working on an innovation for the MIT Invention Convention in which I am building a vertical garden that can be transported for people that live in urbanized communities. My passion for STEM granted me the opportunity to visit the CIA headquarters for a STEM CAMP that included extracting DNA and taking fingerprint samples.
At my school, I am a part of the Girls Who Code club. Through the club, I have worked with Python and model planes that fly. During my free time, I enjoy volunteering for the virtual Noche de Ciencias events, hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where kits are sent to middle and high school students and I help them build robots over Zoom. I find it fulfilling to share my passion for space with my community.
Through AIAA, I have been able to further enrich my studies by engaging in lectures and meeting with professional associates in the aerospace industry. I am grateful to have the support of my faith, family, friends, and mentors that have believed in my potential to reach for the stars and beyond.
Favianna Colon of Caguas, Puerto Rico
Notre Dame High School
Attending in the fall: TBD
Born on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico to parents Christine Irizarry and José Colón, I am the eldest child, a trained ballet dancer, and the first member of my family to pursue university studies outside the isle’s borders—I hope to attend MIT or Georgia Tech in the fall. My decision to do so came over four years ago, in 2018, when I traveled to Washington, DC, to compete in the National Science Bowl and fell in love with the vibrant campus life.
I am currently a senior at Notre Dame High School in my hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico. I participate in a specialized STEAM program offered there that, over the years, has inspired my fondness of discovery and creation. At the school, I am an active member of numerous organizations, including the Chemistry Club, Honor Society, and Mathematics Club, of which I am president. Thanks to participation in these, I have managed to be a great prospect in competitions like the Puerto Rico Math Olympiad. Further, such institutions have assisted me in discerning my passion for Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Outside of school, in 2019, I participated in a research initiative hosted by NASA in the Arecibo Observatory called STAR Academy. I graduated as the program’s salutatorian and, during my time there, investigated black hole types and emerging trends in their development throughout the universe. Such experience steered me to also seek a minor in Astronomy.
Nchenui Moundae Jamila of New Castle, DE
Paul M. Hodgson Vocational Technical High School
Attending in the fall: TBD
I am an aspiring aerospace engineer who grew up in the Central African country of Cameroon and moved to the United States when I was 10 years old. Engineering has always been something that I loved, and I was always fixing and assembling things as a child. I never knew exactly what type of engineering I wanted to specialize in, so I decided to apply for the manufacturing and pre-engineering vocational high school program, which explored every aspect of engineering spanning from machining to CAD design, coding, to circuity, rocket science and robotics. Though intrigued by different fields of engineering, I found rocket science, machining, and robotics units the most challenging and interesting. I wanted a specialization that combined all of my interests, and I always had a strong interest in global warming since I was 12 — I even did a science fair project on the effects of co2 emission. While researching the project I found that research and development for electric cars and solar power were almost definitive at the time, but that of electric airplanes was really far off. I then realized that aerospace engineering was perfect for me, as I could incorporate my interest in global warming, fulfill a personal vendetta against my misogynistic culture, and blend many of the types of engineering I had a passion for. I have a long-term goal of being a key part in the development of an electric airplane.
Elizabeth Kung of Portland, OR
Sunset High School
Attending in the fall: TBD
I was born and raised in Oregon and have always been an active person, curious to try new endeavors. In my early years, I attended a Chinese immersion school, and I am able to fluently read, write, and converse. I love the team atmosphere and the competitive nature of sports, and I’ve played football, was the captain of my rugby team, attended swimming competitions, and achieved a USA Ballroom Dance Nationals 2nd-place finish.
Space has always been my biggest passion. I was introduced to the magnificence of space through three movies: October Sky showed me how to dream, Hidden Figures showed me how to pursue, and Apollo 13 showed me how to persevere. These films were an inspiration, leading me to participate in engineering classes, visit local companies like Boeing, and compete in the Conrad Challenge, becoming a “Conrad Innovator” for two projects: ClearCube (space debris removal) and Mile One (ecofriendly, sustainable shipping). I also had the pleasure of attending two NASA summer camps: one in Alabama, where my team won the “Commander’s Cup,” and another in Florida, where I witnessed a rocket launch.
I have a desire to further space exploration. Whether or not this involves working on rockets, researching new materials, assembling rovers, learning to fly, or cleaning up space debris, I want to be part of this special time in history. I intend to pursue a degree in Aerospace/Astronautical Engineering and work in the space industry.
Mariah Tammera of Warrenton, VA
Attending in the fall: TBD
When I was in first grade, my favorite book was There’s No Place Like Space by Tish Rabe. I remember thumbing through the colorful, eye-catching pages and absorbing every little detail about the planets, sun, moon, and lunar rovers. My childhood imagination expanded as thoughts captured these topics. It was from this point on that I realized my wholehearted passion for space exploration.
In the spring of 2018, my school gave me the opportunity to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, for one week. There, I was able to delve deeper into learning more about the career opportunities in the Aerospace field, while also being challenged to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills in group activities. My experiences at Space Camp sparked an interest in a career in Aerospace Engineering. The specifics of my career aspirations began developing after being accepted into the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) Online Course program during my junior year of high school and subsequently participating in the VASTS Summer Academy: an invitation-only program. While conducting research on robotic space missions for a module assignment, I discovered an inclination toward learning more about robotic space mission rovers and the scientific instruments used on those vehicles.
All these experiences — from childhood to present day — have encouraged me to set a future career goal aimed at contributing toward furthering humankind’s preparation for long-term space exploration by aspiring to participate in the design and development of robotic apparatuses.
Natalie Bretton of Newport News, VA
Menchville High School
Attending in the fall: University of Virginia
I have participated in FIRST robotics programs for almost a decade. Now, as the mechanical fabrication lead and pit crew lead of Menchville High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition team, I am responsible for the design and building of our robots, training mechanical sub-team members on using machine shop tools, and troubleshooting mechanical problems under pressure. At competitions, I lead my team’s first all-girl pit crew to win several prestigious and technical awards, making us one of the youngest, yet most successful pit crews the team has ever had. My team also partnered with VCU’s Occupational Therapy program, where we worked collaboratively with Ph.D. students to design and implement assistive technology (AT) - technology that helps those with disabilities. I led the process of designing, modifying, and implementing AT, an experience that taught me just how much STEM can help the people around me. After completing 2 invitation-only NASA summer academies, I discovered that I have a passion for aerospace engineering. As a student at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology(GSST), I was able to further explore this passion through a mentorship at NASA. I worked alongside an aerospace engineer to develop a customizable turbofan engine component in a program called OpenVSP. I am going to continue this project through a paid internship this summer, and hope to publish my work. This coming year, I am excited to be attending the University of Virginia as a Rodman Scholar where I plan to double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Madison Chubb of Orlando, FL
Timber Creek High School
Attending in the fall: University of Florida
My parents believe that growing up in their own country they were never permitted to figure out who they were. My four younger siblings and I are first-generation Americans, and have always been allowed and encouraged to follow our individual passions. This freedom has allowed me to discover who I truly am inside and what I want to do with my life. I have always been allowed to freely investigate everything I loved. I built, I fixed, and I took a zillion things apart. As a child I would spend hours in my sandbox building different shapes, or sitting on the floor pouring pasta from one saucepan to another through funnels and cardboard tubes. As a six year old I asked for a model jet engine for my birthday. Ever since then I knew I wanted to work with planes. I built hundreds of Lego sets, later moved onto Meccano and now VEX Robotics advancing to States and Worlds. All these things I did as a child have allowed me to realize my passion for aero engineering. Living in different countries I learned to be at ease with who I am. I was the one who was different, and I chose to embrace that, wherever I might be. I am so excited to take the next step into aero engineering and I look forward to all the new exciting things that my future holds!
Daichi Horiguchi of Manhattan Beach, CA
Mira Costa High School
Attending in the fall: Stanford University
I’ve had the chance to delve into many different endeavors and skills. I’ve painted thousands of artworks, recently got scouted into and entered a talent agency, have been learning martial arts for the past decade, and especially have spent a great fraction of my life on music. I began learning the violin when I was two and performed a solo with orchestra accompaniment by the time I was four. I have been on news and media since five and have led numerous orchestras as a concertmaster. Music has provided me with phenomenal opportunities like performing solo with the Mira Costa Symphony in Spain, performing for Mr. Bill Clinton, and getting to mentor many young musicians.
Despite my varying interests, engineering has always been my biggest passion. As a child, I used to break apart and fix household machineries like clocks and printers. I loved finding out the mechanics of any device and gaining knowledge by hands-on experience. I learned woodcrafting and the handling of electric tools in elementary-school, and I learned programming and 3-D modeling in junior-high. After learning metalwork during high-school I turned scrap pieces of motorcycles into a cafe-racer. I now feel that my childhood ambitions and curiosity have grown over the years. It’s always been my dream to become an astronaut, but now I cannot stand not knowing what lies beyond our reach in the universe. My absolute goal is to take part in the Mars colonization plans as an engineer-astronaut and help advance the astronautical-engineering world.
Gloria Johnson of Stafford, VA
Brooke Point High School
Attending in the fall: Washington & Jefferson College
Gloria Johnson is an aspiring aerospace engineer with the goal of changing the face of the fueling of aircraft. Gloria grew up as a military child and was born to immigrant parents from Liberia. As she constantly relocated, Gloria found her love for flying and aircraft. Because Gloria grew up with a more global perspective, due to her cultural background and constant relocation, she wanted to ensure that she was also learning from a holistic approach. To achieve this objective, she applied and was accepted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at her high school. IB is an academically extensive program that requires students to be well-rounded in their academics and extracurriculars. While in high school, she also participated in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Program (VASTS) which further inspired her to reach her desire of becoming an aerospace engineer.
In her pursuit of becoming an aerospace engineer, Gloria has accepted a summer NASA Internship prior to beginning college. She will attend Washington & Jefferson College in the Fall of 2021. She will participate in its dual-degree program with Case Western Reserve University where she will receive bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering. Gloria is thankful as the recipient of this scholarship to assist in supporting her education to help her reach her goals. This investment is not only a blessing to Gloria and her future but will also impact her contributions globally through Aerospace Engineering. Thank you for this opportunity!