University of Oklahoma Scholar Awarded Astronaut Scholarship

Emily Thomas, of Chickasha, Oklahoma, a junior biomedical engineering major in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, was named a member of the 2019 Astronaut Scholar Class. Thomas is one of 52 scholars from 38 universities across the nation to receive the prestigious $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Thomas has been assisting in research efforts at the OU Translational Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, where her focus has been in the development of tissue engineering scaffolds that can be used to promote spinal cord regeneration. She is also a member of OU’s Biomedical Engineering Society Chapter and attended the BMES Annual Meeting in October 2018 to present a poster on her research.

“Emily is leading by example, not only in the classroom, but as demonstrated in her undergraduate research experiences that are contributing to her future aspirations,” said OU Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering Director Michael Detamore.Upon graduation, she hopes to work as a biomedical engineer in the biotechnology sector, particularly in the areas of research and development, and to achieve this goal, she plans to attend graduate school. “Modern medicine has saved the lives of so many, and I hope to help continue this trend,” Thomas stated.

During the summer, Thomas interned in a pulmonary engineering lab at the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical campus, where she saw firsthand engineers developing products for drug testing on lung models. “This is the type of research I hope to conduct one day,” Emily relayed. “I look forward to seeing my efforts have a direct impact on people’s lives.”

For more than 40 years, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has awarded in excess of $4 million in scholarships to more than 500 students at 40 universities. The mission of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts.

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