Jan. 30, 2024

NASA astronaut to visit campus


Former NASA Astronaut Joe Tanner is scheduled to visit campus on Thursday, Feb. 8. During his visit, Tanner will talk about the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and present NDSU mechanical engineering student, Jacob Sundberg, a certificate for receiving the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year. 

The program will be held in the NDSU Alumni Center atrium from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a reception and light refreshments to follow. Opening and closing remarks will be made by Alan Kallmeyer, the interim dean for the College of Engineering. Near the end of the program, Tanner will hold a 15-minute Q&A with the audience. 

Sundberg, who is set to graduate in May, found out he was receiving the prestigious scholarship last year. 

“The scholarship has helped relieve the stresses of the financial investment. Besides the financial benefit, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has also provided resources like mentors and other professional networking opportunities to inspire continued growth throughout my college career,” said Sundberg, who is from East Grand Forks, Minnesota. 

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the United States maintains its leadership in science and technology by supporting some of the best science, technology, engineering and mathematics college students. 

The foundation awarded its first seven scholarships in 1986 when each founding Mercury 7 astronaut sponsored a $1,000 scholarship. The foundation now awards more than 60 scholarships valued up to $15,000 to each selected scholar. 

Sundberg said he’s looking forward to meeting Tanner and receiving the certificate. During the program, Sundberg plans to express his gratitude to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Chad Ulven, NDSU professor and interim chair of mechanical engineering who has served as a mentor to Sundberg, and his parents for providing the resources he’s needed to be successful.  

After he receives his bachelor’s degree, Sundberg will continue his education at NDSU to earn his master’s in mechanical engineering. He hopes to one day find a job in research and development. 

Sundberg credits both NDSU and the College of Engineering for providing students ample opportunities in what they want to pursue.

“NDSU and the College of Engineering have many opportunities for students, between student groups and in department research, that allow them to grow independently beyond the classroom,” he said.   

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