LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas student entering his final year of undergraduate study has earned a scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
Kade Townsend, a microbiology major from Topeka, will receive the award of up to $15,000.
The Astronaut Scholarship was founded in 1984 by the six surviving members of the seven astronauts who were part of the Mercury program as a means to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have also joined the foundation.
This year, the foundation awarded 68 scholarships to students from 45 different institutions.
Students interested in applying for the awards in future years should contact the Office of Fellowships.
Townsend was also named as one of five KU students who earned a Goldwater Scholarship this spring.
He is the son of Hollee and Ryan Townsend and a graduate of Seaman High School. He plans to pursue a doctorate focusing on bacterial genetics research. He said as a first-generation college student, receiving this award was particularly meaningful and it would help better prepare him for graduate school in the future.
“Receiving an Astronaut Scholarship signifies to me that not only is my work reaching others, but that all of the hurdles I have overcome to get here have been worth it,” Townsend said.
As a freshman Emerging Scholar, Townsend joined the Chandler Lab, led by Josephine Chandler, associate professor of molecular biosciences, and has continued to be an important contributor to the lab’s research on antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
He has participated in oral and poster presentations alongside the research team at conferences, as a Maximizing Access to Research Career Scholar and McNair Scholar. He was the 2021 SACNAS Outstanding Presentation Award recipient for his poster presentation, “Adaptive mutation which alters tobramyacin susceptibility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” and he earned the Courtwright Award for outstanding research among other Undergraduate Research Award winners.