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Spelman Senior Receives Prestigious STEM Scholarship From Retired NASA Astronaut

Spelman Senior Receives Prestigious STEM Scholarship From Retired NASA Astronaut

They’re opening doors in STEM!

Spelman graduating senior Kathleen Bostick has been fascinated with space since she was in high school, 11 Alive reports. She recently had the opportunity to draft up plans for a manned mission to Mars, presenting her plans at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Bostick’s work has impressed many and this month, she was awarded with a prestigious STEM scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to pursue her research and studies post-graduation. If that wasn’t a big enough achievement, Bostick had the pleasure of receiving the award from former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham. 

“[Higginbotham is one of my] biggest inspirations,” Bostick told reporters. 

The third Black woman to travel to space and a NASA astronaut with 53 active space shuttle launches under her belt, Higginbotham is a shining representation of what’s possible for Black girls in STEM. She began her career in 1987 as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, serving nine years there. She then flew on the STS-116 mission, making history before her retirement in 2007. She had an opportunity to address Bostick and the students at Spelman, giving them advice on how to dream big and set a course for their careers early on. 

“I always tell students, or even adults, who are looking to venture into areas - where there’s not many people that look like us or people who have not chartered those path(s), I always say, ‘Have faith in yourself and your abilities.’ Always use your voice as a conduit to speak the truth and to have confidence in what you’re saying,” Higginbotham told the students. 

Bostick says she hopes to follow in Higginbotham’s footsteps and open more doors for the next generation of STEM leaders, serving as representation for other Black girls that anything is possible. 

“We are not just as capable as everyone else but we are even more than that because we know how to problem solve in a way that no one else does and I think that…is truly the key to getting us to Mars, getting us anywhere in terms of new inventions, and the future in general,” said Bostick. 

Congratulations Kathleen! The sky’s the limit!

Cover photo: Spelman senior receives prestigious STEM scholarship from former NASA astronaut/(l to r) Former astronaut Joan Higginbotham & Spelman senior Kathleen Bostick/Photo Courtesy of WXIA/11 Alive