02 August, 2023

The Endeavour Scholarship Class of 2023 graduated from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp “Advanced Academy” last month .....

The Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship Class of 2023, four teams of students and educators representing Australia, Bahrain, France, and the United States, graduated from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp “Advanced Academy” last month. The event and related activities in Huntsville, AL and Washington, DC capped the growing programs’ fourth year of building influential “nation-to-nation" partnerships to promote STEM education around the world and advance the global engineering workforce.

Launched by Tom Kallman, President and CEO of USA Partnership Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide at the 2019 International Paris Air Show, the program honors its namesake Worden, pilot of the Apollo 15 Command Module “Endeavour,” for his lifetime commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math education. From 2014 until his passing in 2020, Worden served as Kallman’s STEM Ambassador at industry trade events around the world.

In established and emerging space communities, scholarship selection committees choose four students and an educator annually to represent their countries as “Mission Teams” in an all-expenses paid, week-long, hands-on astronaut training experience at the renowned Huntsville campus. The 2023 Endeavour class joins alumni from Chile, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Singapore on the program’s growing roster.

“Every country we work in — and we’ve worked in at least 50 of them since our company was founded in 1963 — is facing the same challenges to prepare its young people for the future. Many also see that future in space,” Kallman said. “As an extension of our work advancing global trade in exhibition halls around the world, and with the support of global partners in government, industry, the military, and academia, the Endeavour Scholarship mission is to connect with worldwide interest in space to promote STEM careers.”

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Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot, Charlie Duke, and former Space Shuttle Pilot and NASA Astronaut Office Chief, Hoot Gibson, the Space and Rocket Center’s “Astronaut of the Week,” presided over the graduation ceremonies for 120 students, including the 16 selected by Endeavour, on 7 July. In addition to graduation honors, Zoe Bremner, from Endeavour Mission Team #10 Australia, was selected to receive the Academy’s “Right Stuff” award for exhibiting the same attributes of the brave test pilots and astronauts celebrated in Tom Wolfe’s 1979 best-selling account of the early days of the U.S. space program.

“One of the great joys of my life has been talking with young people about the purpose and integrity of the space program and its positive impact on humankind,” said Duke, who stepped in for his friend Worden on the Endeavour team in 2020. “I was proud to join the international Endeavour mission teams and their classmates at Space Camp graduation. I know Al (Worden) would be proud of this class, and the international program we’re continuing to build in his name, too.”

The Space Camp Advanced Academy explores college and career preparation through an immersive multidisciplinary curriculum. Participants experience a variety of astronaut training exercises, engineering challenges and team-building activities all culminating in an extended-duration simulated space mission.

Separate from the student experience, Endeavour educators participated in a week of teacher training, including authentic astronaut training simulators and activities developed to promote learning in a classroom setting. Their curriculum included NASA-inspired lesson plans correlated to the National Science Education Standards and featured a presentation by Rocket Boys author and 30-year NASA veteran Homer Hickam.

“The Space Camp experience bonds like-minded space explorers through their training, missions, and team experience,” said Dr. Kimberly Robinson, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. “Creating lasting relationships among nations is key to living and working in space and to accomplishing mankind’s next giant leap forward. In that same spirit, the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship heightens connections around the globe to achieve success in space for years to come.”

Prior to their arrival in Huntsville, the Endeavour teams met for the first time in Washington, DC for a tour of the city, including a memorial stop at Worden’s gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery, a personal visit from program supporter Boeing President of Boeing Business Development//Defense, Space, Security & Global Services, Heidi Grant, and visits to the National Air and Space Museum facilities on the Smithsonian Mall and the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, VA.

“In line with Boeing’s commitment to innovate and invest in efforts that build, enhance, and contribute to the communities where our employees live and work, we are proud to support the Endeavour Scholarship program,” said Grant. “In just four years, it has firmly established its value as an ambassador for STEM-driven industries around the world and an active advocate for the future engineering workforce.”

For more information about the Endeavour Scholarship Foundation, or to ‘Join the Mission,’ please visit https://endeavourscholarship.org/.