Two sixth-form students from the Isle of Man will take their place this summer alongside students from 21 other countries at NASA’s United Space School.
Christopher Clarke-Halewood from Castle Rushen High School and Alex Eaton from Queen Elizabeth II High School have won scholarships at the two-week space school in Houston, Texas. Working in close cooperation with the Department of Education and Children, Isle of Man-based ManSat has been offering these annual scholarships since 2000.
Last year’s recipients were Katy Myers from St Ninian’s High School and Rosie Watson from Ramsey Grammar School.
ManSat Chief Executive Chris Stott explained: ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for Christopher and Alex. Each year there are around 35 students from around the globe, so it’s brilliant from the Isle of Man’s perspective that we get to choose two students to attend.
‘Many of our scholarship winners from previous years have gone on to careers within the space industry, or related fields, and they all speak very highly of the opportunities they received – not to mention the fun they had and the friends they made – at the United Space School.’
The competition to win the scholarships is open to year 12 students at the DEC’s five high schools, with ManSat’s Finance Director Ian Jarritt visiting each of the schools to talk about the USS.
This year’s entrants had to write three short essays – each between 500 and 1,000 words – on the subjects:
1. How can Space be of service to humanity?
2. How can the Isle of Man play a greater role in international Space activities?
3. Why am I interested in Space?
Christopher and Alex will fly to the US on July 21 and will stay with families associated with NASA. During the two weeks, they will attend the USS Culture Faire, at which the students are tasked with promoting their homeland.
Christopher said: ‘I’d always dreamt of working at NASA, but had always seen it as an impossible dream, and then when Mr Jarritt came into school to do his talk about the competition, I began to realise that this impossible dream could actually become a reality.
‘It will be a once in a lifetime experience of working at NASA, and I’m also looking forward to making many new friends from around the world; friends that I can share amazing memories with for many years to come.
‘Like many teenagers my age, I haven’t quite decided what career path to pursue, and because of this I have left my options open. However, as I’ve always been interested in working within aerospace, this opportunity could set the path to my future career.’
Alex said: ‘I’m extremely grateful to ManSat for providing me with this amazing opportunity. I have a passionate interest in astronomy and astro-physics, and this scholarship will provide me with the platform to progress onto my desired university degree – in physics or quantum/astro-physics – giving me an advantage in later life whilst looking for a potential career in this field.’
In addition to the USS scholarships, ManSat sponsors and supports the annual Spirit of Innovation competition for Manx high schools, in cooperation with the Pete Conrad Foundation. The company also awards an annual ‘ManSat Fellowship’ grant, for Manx students seeking to further their studies in space, and scholarships to programs run by the International Space University in Strasbourg.
Photo - Sixth-form students Christopher Clarke-Halewood (left), from Castle Rushen High School, and Alex Eaton, from Queen Elizabeth II High School, are all set to attend NASA’s United Space School this summer. They are pictured here with Ian Jarritt, Finance Director with ManSat Ltd, which provides two scholarships each year to the USS.