Spelman College Senior Receives STEM Scholarship From Astronaut Joan Higginbotham

A graduating senior at Spelman College has received a STEM scholarship from renowned and retired astronaut Joan Higginbotham, the third Black woman to travel to space. 

According to Atlanta’s 13 WMAZ, Kathleen Bostick received a scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for creating a manned mission to Mars. Bostick presented her plans at NASA’s Langley Research Center. 

“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,” Bostick said. 

Higginbotham also encouraged students at Spelman to always steer toward their goals.

“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 paths, I always say, ‘Have faith in yourself and your abilities,'” she said. “Always use your voice as a conduit to speak the truth and to have confidence in what you’re saying.”


According to NASA.gov, Higginbotham began her career in 1987 as payload electrical engineer in the electrical and telecommunications systems division at the Kennedy Space Center.

In 1996, NASA selected Higginbotham as an astronaut candidate. She completed more than 308 hours in space. Her first mission was with STS-116, where she served as operator of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). She was also assigned to the STS-126 mission in 2008. Higginbotham now works in the private sector.

Bostick added that Higginbotham has always been one of her”biggest inspirations,” however, she plans to go farther than anyone has ever gone in the space of STEM.

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