Hall of Fame Astronaut Rusty Schweickart at Wash U
The astronaut will speak and award a scholarship to an Arts & Sciences student.
Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart will present Lindsey K. Steinberg, a senior majoring in chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a public ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Brookings Hall, Room 300.
Immediately following the presentation, Schweickart will share his experience orbiting the Earth as lunar module pilot of Apollo 9 in a talk titled “The Challenge of Space.”
His talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.
“Lindsey has demonstrated quality leadership in chemistry at Washington University,” Schweickart said. “She embodies the top characteristics of an Astronaut Scholar: intelligent, perseverant and driven to lead the path toward the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology. I’m proud to have the opportunity to present this award to such a worthy recipient at Washington University.”
Steinberg, a National Merit Scholar from Springfield, MO, is one of 22 university students nationwide selected this year to receive this prestigious award by the more than 100 NASA astronauts in the ASF.
Richard A. Loomis, PhD, associate professor of chemistry, is Steinberg’s adviser and has known her since August 2009 when he met her in a physical sciences pre-freshman orientation program.
“From day one, she was clearly driven to succeed in a career in science,” he wrote in an ASF nomination letter.
Loomis says that as a sophomore, Steinberg took on a complicated set of experiments to optimize the properties of semiconductor quantum wires. He says she made great strides in less than a year and that her research findings will be part of at least three academic publications.
Steinberg, who is minoring in physics and has a 3.99 GPA, plans to pursue an academic career to “contribute both to innovative research and the education of others.”
Among her extracurricular activities, Steinberg is a Peer-Led Team Learning leader for general chemistry students and has volunteered for Catalysts for Change, a program to introduce female high school students to opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the United States to STEM undergraduate college students based solely on merit.
Nearly $3.5 million has been awarded since the ASF was established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts. Since 1986, Washington University students have received$203,000 through the ASF.
NASA selected Schweickart in October 1963 as one of 14 in the third group of astronauts. He was lunar module pilot on the 10-day Apollo 9 mission, which was the first to test the moon landing vehicle in space.
After reaching Earth orbit, Commander James McDivitt and Schweickart tested the still-attached vehicle for two days before separating it from the Command Module and flying it 113 miles away. Executing a series of maneuvers, they returned successfully to the mother ship, manned by David Scott.
During the mission, Schweickart took a 46-minute space walk to test the portable life support backpack that astronauts would use later on the moon.
Schweickart later moved to NASA Headquarters in Washington as director of user affairs in the Office of Applications, responsible for transferring NASA technology to the outside world.
He then held several technology-related positions with the California state government, including assistant to the governor for science and technology and, in 1979, as chairman of the California Energy Commission. He is president of Aloha Networks Inc. of San Francisco.
Schweickart was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997 and is an active member of the ASF.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields.
*Information from Susan Killenberg McGinn, Washington University.