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Hall of Fame Skylab Astronaut Honors UK Students

by Whitney Hale & Amanda Miner

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2013) — Skylab astronaut Joe Kerwin will visit the University of Kentucky to present students Tyler "T.J." Flynn and Josiah Hanna each with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) during a public lecture and ceremony, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Memorial Hall Amphitheatre. If the weather turns colder, the event will be moved inside to the Engineering Commons, located in the Ralph G. Anderson Building

During the visit, Kerwin will share his experiences as a NASA astronaut who lived and worked on the Skylab space station for a period of 28 days in 1973. Kerwin’s talk is free and open to the public. 

Astronaut Scholarships are the largest monetary awards available to United States science, technology, engineering and math students based solely on merit. ASF has awarded more than $3.7 million to deserving students around the U.S. to date. UK students have earned a total of $141,000 from the ASF since 1998.

TJ FlynnT.J. Flynn, of Lexington, is a senior working toward a dual degree in mechanical engineering (with aerospace certificate) and physics. As an avid undergraduate researcher, he has developed untethered micro-robotic systems as well as a suite of novel microfabrication techniques and nanocomposite materials. Flynn, a Chellgren Fellow, is a co-author on two academic publications. His goals for the future include achieving a doctoral degree in applied fluid dynamics and becoming a research engineer and professor.

Josiah Hanna, of Lexington, is a senior with a double major in computer science and mathematics and member of the Honors Program. Hanna’s research interests in mathematical models of stochastic systems Josiah Hannahave taken him to Paris, where he worked with researchers there on sophisticated problems in decision and planning theory. A Chellgren Fellow, Hanna previously was named a Goldwater Scholar last spring. Hanna’s future goals include pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science, specifically focused on artificial intelligence, decision-making and machine learning.

"Our students continue to represent the University of Kentucky in amazing ways through their scholarly achievement and creativity," said President Eli Capilouto. "The entire UK family is deeply proud of Tyler and Josiah — our first two Astronaut Scholars named in the same year — as they join a selective list of promising student-scholars."

ASF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury program. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields. ASF funds 28 $10,000 scholarships annually. Today, more than 100 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor. For more information, call 321-449-4876 or visit

Flynn and Hanna's experience with the Office of External Scholarships, part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK, prepared them to apply for the Astronaut Scholarship. The Office of External Scholarships assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation.

video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing