Science & Tech

Students Awarded 2019 Astronaut Foundation Scholarships

Camella Carlson '20 and Oscar Gonzalez '20 are recipients of the honor from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
By Texas A&M LAUNCH September 23, 2019

Two Texas A&M University students have been awarded the 2019 Astronaut Scholarship, one of the most significant merit-based scholarships in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that can be awarded to an undergraduate.

Camella Carlson portrait
Camella Carlson


Awarded by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), the scholarship seeks to support the brightest scholars in STEM while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. Camella Carlson ‘20 and Oscar Gonzalez ’20 are among this year’s recipients, joining the 32 other Texas A&M students who have been honored since the scholarship’s establishment in 1984.

Camella Carlson

Carlson, a junior biomedical engineering honors student from Olathe, Kan., is working under Kristen Maitland to develop an optical tissue phantom of the lung to optimize a system for the optical detection of tuberculosis. Carlson also worked at the summer Harvard-MIT Health Science & Technology program, where she designed a new device for image-guided gastrointestinal microbiota sampling.

She is involved with the American Medical Student Association, the Biomedical Engineering Ambassadors Program and the Society for Optics and Photonics. She hopes to pursue either a doctoral degree or a MD/Ph.D. in biomedical engineering order to “combine basic science discoveries with problems dictated by physicians and patients to radically improve the speed, accuracy and simplicity of diagnoses and treatments.”

Oscar Gonzalez

Oscar Gonzalez portrait
Oscar Gonzalez


Gonzalez, a junior chemistry major with minors in physics and mathematics. from San Juan, Texas, is currently working as part of Sarbajit Banerjee’s lab to develop materials that will allow for increased computer efficiency. Gonzalez synthesizes hematite films for photoelectrochemical water splitting, and creates ways to push the deposition process toward higher film quality and higher water splitting efficiency.

When asked how these research experiences have shaped him, Gonzalez said working on the projects “has helped me become the scientist I want to become. In addition, I want to share and use everything I have learned with the rest of the world.”

As an undergraduate research ambassador, Gonzalez works to facilitate research opportunities for undergraduate students. He is a member of the Academy of Undergraduate Researchers Across Texas, and a Barry Goldwater Scholar for 2019.

Both Carlson and Gonzalez will be honored at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award Ceremony set for Oct. 16 on the Texas A&M campus.

Visit the LAUNCH: National Fellowships website to see how it helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Astronaut Scholarship, with support from the Association of Former Students.

This story was originally posted on the LAUNCH Honors website.

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